Philip Jenkins’ writing is exciting, but his research and findings are even more so. As I read the The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (in one sitting), I put the book down and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and I rose again with a new hope for our generation. Let me explain.
Jenkins not only documents the robust condition of the Church in Africa and Asia and Latin America, which was hopeful enough, but shows something else: that the much prayed-for renewal of the Western Church may just be in the immigration of Third World peoples who bring their faithful (conservative) Christianity (Latin Catholics, African Anglicans and Asian Presbyterians) into the weak, Postmodern remnants of what we all have come to see as a dying West. I believe that Jenkin’s work is some of the most important writing in Christianity today. This book (and indeed the other two in this trilogy) is an essential read for pastors, theologians, seminary students, as well as lay leaders who are concerned about the future of world missions and home missions alike. Indeed, it is a book for all of us who feel as though we are captives in Babylon. Jenkin’s book makes me think that a post captivity is on its way. But our future hope is coming in ways we could have never imagined. And isn’t that just like the Kingdom of God? Isn’t that just like Jesus?