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 →
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 →
This is an interview with Prof. Andrew F. Walls, founder and honorary professor of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, conducted in August 2016. Prof. Walls discusses his understanding of the field of study which is now known as ‘world Christianity’ – a field which he helped to create.
Religion and Sport is an emerging theme. However, while there is an ever-increasing literature base, there is a serious lack of empirical research in the field of sport and religion. Research, scholarly meetings, journals and practical initiatives that focus on sport and religion have exponentially increased during the last decade. However, these discourses are limited to contexts of a particular country and of a particular discipline. The vast majority of research on sport–religion has come from the USA and focused on a narrow evangelical manifestation of Christianity. There is little, except for Catholic reflection on sport from the Vatican, from mainland Europe and on non-Western understandings of religion and sports. Most of the contributions published in the USA or the UK, for instance, do not take into account developments on the European continent or in Canada, not to mention Africa, Latin America and Asia. And yet important sporting events are characterised by their international dimension.
The articles in this special issue of Studies in World Christianity addresses this fascinating theme, and is based on a interdisciplinary workshop held in March 2013 at the University of Edinburgh entitled ‘Religion and Sport: Past, Present and Future’. Continue reading →
Biblical and Non-Biblical Sources of Popular Religiosity in World Christianity
Christianity, as our first contributor to this issue of Studies in World Christianity reminds us, is supremely a religion of the Book. The narratives, symbols and doctrinal content of the biblical writings supply the constituent texture of the religion. Nevertheless, as the same contributor, Ole Jakob Løland, points out, for much of Christian history the great majority of Christian believers did not have direct access to the text of the bible: its teaching was mediated and refracted through their participation in, or observation of, a non-vernacular liturgy, and through religious art, music, drama and the communal observance of pilgrimages and festivals in honour of the saints. Continue reading →
I’m excited to report that, starting the academic year of 2015-2016, we will be offering a new graduate course entitled ‘Theologies of World Christianity’. It will mainly be aimed at graduate students of our World Christianity cohort (MTh/MSc), but open to other graduate students in the School of Divinity and beyond.1 The new course attempts to introduce students to the wide variety of Christian theologies that have been forming around the world, with particular focus on more recent developments in contexts such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America – with some references also to Europe and North America. Continue reading →