The massive online encyclopedia grows at an average rate of 800 articles per day, but in 2016, at least 25 of those began here in New College, Edinburgh. A new but growing field, World Christianity thrives upon the continuous challenge of disseminating scholarship from small to growing institutions from Beijing to Botswana. Through a series of Wikipedia projects conducted during Fall 2016, the Centre for the Study of World Christianity and the School of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh have experimented with a new platform for disseminating information quickly in a rapidly changing field.
Eschatology, Time and Space
In his famous commentary on Romans, Karl Barth examines Romans 8:24–25 and explains that, without eschatological hope,1
there is no freedom, but only imprisonment; no grace, but only condemnation and corruption; no divine guidance, but only fate; no God, but only a mirror of unredeemed humanity.
For this Swiss theologian, Christianity void of ‘restless eschatology’ is Christianity void of a relationship with Christ and a new life offered by the Holy Spirit. Eschatological hope is the basis for Christian salvation and offers a reason to strive and a reason to change – to change oneself and to change one’s surrounding world. Most commonly, eschatology is understood in terms of the dimension of time. But for others, eschatology reorients understandings of the dimension of space. The four articles in this issue of Studies in World Christianity engage this overarching subject of Christian eschatology, but also how different contexts develop understandings of eschatology in terms of time and space. Continue reading
EMMS International is celebrating 175 years of medical missions in 2016. This is a set of three lectures delivered in the Centre for the Study of World Christianity on 8 November 2016 to help celebrate the work of EMMS International.
In scenes played out all over Britain, men, women, and children sat in darkened church halls mesmerised by missionary photographs projected on white walls or make-shift screens. Before the average British citizen could see pictures from all over the world on a mobile phone or a home computer, these kinds of presentations were the closest most of them would ever come to seeing other parts of the world. Their conceptions of far-off places were shaped in large part by these slide shows given by missionaries trying to enlist the support of congregations at home.
The Centre for the Study of World Christianity has thousands of these images in its collection of material relating to the history of world Christianity and the missionary movement. Documenting the spread of Christianity outside of the West has been a major part of the Centre’s work since Andrew Walls founded it in 1982. After working as an archivist for more than fourteen years, the Centre’s archives were an important part of my decision to study here. One of the first things I did after I arrived was meet with the Centre’s archivist, Kirsty Stewart, to discuss material relevant to my project. Continue reading