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Nation & World

Now What? Revivalist Christianity and Global South politics

Author: Joel Carpenter, Director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College
Books and Culture
Posted on: May 8, 2009

Across three great regions of the world—sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and southern and eastern Asia—two trends are rearranging the social and political landscapes. One of these, the growth of democracy in civic life, politics, and governance, has attracted the attention of some of the most prominent scholars of public affairs. The late Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard famously called this movement “the third wave” of democratic revolutions in modern history. This trend is anything but inevitable, however. Despite dramatic advances, democracy in many lands is fragile, and there have been many setbacks, as any reader of the “world” section of the daily news can attest.

The other development, which until recently was nearly invisible to most scholars and pundits, is Christianity’s dynamic development in these regions, which is causing a seismic shift of the faith’s place and role in the world. Christianity, it turns out, is not just the fading tribal religion of the Europeans.

The faith is practiced worldwide, in many more places and languages than any other religion. The great majority of Christians now live outside Europe and North America.

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