Studies in World Christianity, Issue 26.2

Migration, Identity and Pluralism

World Christianity is a discourse about Christianity as a worldwide reality. It is not merely about the growing numbers of the faithful ‘out there’, juxtaposed against the falling numbers in the West. Part of the demographic changes of Christianity include the migration of peoples from the majority world to my world, next door. In a recent Ph.D. thesis on Christianity in Glasgow, where 126 Church of Scotland churches operate within the presbytery, 110 new churches were established between 2000 and 2016; of those new churches, 65 per cent primarily work with minority populations of African or Asian origins. Scholars may be quick to discuss the implications of the secularisation thesis or the so-called post-secular. But for those Christian communities on the ground, they may be more readily concerned with addressing practical needs related to migration, ‘integration’ into the dominant society, and negotiation of identities. From the first century until today, Christians have been a people on the move. However, another part of the picture is that changes in a given locale often happen irrespective of the Christians who have come or gone. As the four main articles in this issue of Studies in World Christianity demonstrate, such migratory and demographic patterns demonstrate how societies are rarely homogenous, but, in actuality, quite pluralistic.

It is with a heavy heart that this issue includes an obituary written by Emma Wild-Wood for James P. Mackey, former Thomas Chalmers Chair of Theology and Dean of the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh. It was under Mackey’s leadership that the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now known as the Centre for the Study of World Christianity) moved from the University of Aberdeen to its current home in the University of Edinburgh. Mackey was also the founding editor of Studies in World Christianity, and brought to the early pages of the journal his own unique concerns around migration, identity and pluralism.

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