FACE OF CHRISTIANITY
WILL SOON BE BLACK, SAYS SCHOLAR
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Mar. 28 2008 05:34
has long been stereotyped as a Western, white man’s religion, but a prominent theologian stated Thursday that that image
will soon drastically change.
“The new face of Christianity will be the black woman,” said Dr. Kwok Pui Lan to an audience
at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Kwok, a professor
at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.,
is a pioneer in Asian feminist theology as well as postcolonial theology.
that as of last year, Europe still had the largest number of Christians in the world –
532 million. It is followed by Latin America with 525 million and then Africa at 417 million.
But by 2025,
Africa is projected to shoot up to 634.6 million Christians, followed closely by Latin America at 634.1 million, while Europe will fall to 531 million Christians.
The United States had 223 million Christians mid-2007 and is predicted
to grow slightly to 252 million by 2025.
said the William F. Cole, professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality at the Episcopal Divinity School, "is to re-imagine
Christianity in the 21st century."
In 1900, over
80 percent of all Christians were from Europe and North America, but by 2005 the number was under 45 percent, observed Dr.
Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in his 2006
report entitled USA evangelicals/Evangelicals in a Global Context.
noted that the number correlated with new data that revealed a southern shift in Christianity away from the United Kingdom and the United States.
for Christianity’s boom in Africa, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia – the first African general secretary of the World
Council of Churches – said late last year that Christianity is not seen as a “part-time” occupation in Africa
in comparison to the United States, but
rather “permeates the whole life.”
in Africa, sub-Saharan Africa especially, is seen not only as a religion, but this is the
opportunity of people to contribute to national building, to peace and reconciliation, to development,” said Kobia at
Washington National Cathedral in December. “Therefore the church becomes the center of activity.”
Christianity’s southern shift, Episcopal Divinity’s Kwok also explored the post-colonial world after World War
II, when many colonies became independent.
In her lecture
entitled “Globalization and the Challenge to Christianity.” Kwok contended that globalization provides opportunities
to advance religion, and religion can offer societies a common value system such as human rights. But globalization also presents
obstacles to religion, including a counter movement that resorts to violence to retain their beliefs and identities.
Kwok was the
guest speaker at The William Daniel Cobb II Lectures at Lexington Theological Seminary. The special lecture began in 1990
in memory of the seminary’s 12th president, inviting a distinguished speaker on theology to the seminary each year.