Monday, October 10, 2005

Book Review: The Future of Christianity

Alister McGrath has turned his attention to The Future of Christianity in this book. Christianity is going through massive changes and its survival is an important issue for all Christians.
'This witty yet highly informed book deals with issues such as the crisis in confidence within western Christianity, the impact of postmodernity on Christianity, and the shift in numerical strength from the west to Africa and Asia. It questions whether traditional Protestant denominations are likely to survive in their present form, and charts the rise of various forms of post-denominational Christianity. It explores the impact of a consumer culture on western Christianity, and the changes this has brought about in approaches to evangelism and church growth. Finally, the work documents the gulf that has opened up between academic theology and the life of the church, and offers a penetration Gramscian analysis of how this situation has arisen, and what can be done to remedy it.' (Back Cover)
Despite its deep and important themes, it is easy to read. If you are interested in Christianity and how it might fare in the future, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Quotes '... To learn from the past, it is essential to confront that past.' (p. 3) 'Old habits of thinking die hard. One of the working assumptions underlying most discussion of the future of Christianity in the 21st century is that it represents a western faith, and that its future is predicated upon trends in western society. By 1990 it was perfectly obvious that this was no longer true. Over the century, the centre of gravity of Christianity had moved south, and now lies in the developing world. To its critics in the Third World, western Christianity continues to behave as if the Christian world orbits around it. The reality, however, is rather different.' (p. 40) 'On the basis of present trends, the future development of [mainline Protestant denominations in the West] can only be described in terms of -- at best -- stagnation, and more likely serious erosion of memberships, influence and power.' (p. 99) Related Links

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