Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

New Series: World Christianity

Noll.jpgMark Noll, professor at Notre Dame and America’s foremost church historian (or at least close), has a new book called The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith and I want to begin a series on it next Monday, June 8th.


Here are two tastes of what Noll’s new book will argue:

“But today — when active Christian adherence has become stronger in Africa than in Europe, when the number of practicing Christians in China may be approaching the number in the United States, when live bodies in church are far more numerous in Kenya than in Canada, when more believers worship together in church Sunday by Sunday in Nagaland than in Norway, when India is now home to the world’s largest chapter of the Roman Catholic Jesuit order, and when Catholic mass is being said in more languages each Sunday in the United States than ever before in American history — with such realities defining the present situation, there is a pressing need for new historical perspectives that explore the new world situation” (10; my italics).


“The book’s major argument is that Christianity in its American form has indeed become very important for the world. But it has become important, not primarily because of direct influence. Rather, the key is how American Christianity was itself transformed when Europeans carried their faith across the Atlantic. The American model rather than American manipulation is the key. … I am suggesting that how Americans have come to practice the Christian faith is just as important globally as what Americans have done” (11-12).


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posted May 31, 2009 at 1:14 pm

reading that together with Philip Jenkins, The New Faces of Christianity, etc. would be a facinating summer school class. I’m sure many of us would emerge at the end of the summer with a very different worldview on the Church worldwide. Looking forward to your comments in the coming weeks.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Just finishing “Theology in the Context of World Christianity” by Timothy Tennent (the president-elect of Asbury Theological Seminary). I am looking forward to this series.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I’ll try to procure a copy before the discussion begins. I definitely want in on this conversation.

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posted May 31, 2009 at 10:19 pm

and does he define what constitutes “Christianity in the American Form”?
When he refers to American-style Christianity is he talking about religious pluralism or is he talking about the religious “free market”.

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Mike M

posted June 1, 2009 at 1:46 am

Is Noll now RC?
“Scandal” is definitely one of the most important Christian books ever so is this new book a follow-up?
I like this the most: “The American model rather than American manipulation is the key” which is true in politics as well as in religion.

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Don Bryant

posted June 1, 2009 at 5:46 am

Thanks for the posts. I trust your site to keep me up on what’s bubbling up in evangelicalism and what I need to give attention to and further research. Your work is appreciated.

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