Studies in World Christianity has sought to bring to the attention of the academy those Christian communities and theologies that have frequently been overlooked. The four articles in this issue deal – in very different ways – with questions of marginality and minority. The first two articles use historical and social-science methods to examine Christian groups in Burma and Jordan that are socially and religiously marginal. The second two articles examine political theologies. One describes the historical development of a theology of justice in war from China that has been overlooked by more prominent Western theological traditions. The other offers a constructive theology that places marginalised people in Australia at the centre of Christology. The articles present no single understanding of marginality: it is a social fact; it is something that Christian belonging can overcome; it is Christ-like; it challenges the majority and the influential; it has caused insights to be overlooked. Nevertheless, these articles, as they inquire into people, places and ideas that have been understudied or neglected, provide new angles on conversion, identity, just war and Christology. (Continue reading Emma Wild-Wood’s introduction here.)
The four articles published in this issue cover a wide range of geographical contexts – Manchuria and Korea, the colonial Gold Coast (modern Ghana) and London, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda. They also embrace a variety of themes that occur with some frequency in the story of world Christianity over the last century or more – the disruptive or catalytic impact on Western missions and indigenous churches of nationalism and communism, the historical origins and contested influence within the public sphere of Pentecostal styles of Christianity, the significance of migrant churches, and the ambiguous role of the Church in promoting reconciliation following the disaster of ethnic conflict in which too many Christians remained silent. If there is a common thread linking all four articles together, it is the dynamic power for good or ill wielded by new movements that previous generations of Christians would have struggled to recognise or incorporate within their worlds of understanding. Continue reading →
The Middle East’s Christian communities frequently make headlines as they emigrate rapidly from from ancient homelands to Europe and the Americas. The Centre for the Study of World Christianity and the Christian-Muslim Studies Network co-sponsored a discussion that explored the fate of those whose emigration led them to the United Kingdom.
Dr Fiona McCallum, a lecturer in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, presented findings from the Humanities in the European Research Area project, ‘Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe’.
Dr McCallum’s work found an audience of particular interest at the Centre for World Christianity at New College, where two PhD students have launched research in the fledgling field of Arab Christianity.Continue reading →
However hard it tries, scholarship in world Christianity does not find it easy to escape the grip of the long-standing historical binary of East and West. The Christianities of Asia, Africa, and even Latin America are still often labelled as ‘non-Western’, as if their multiple identities consist primarily in their shared departure from the implicit default setting of European or North American Christianity. The four articles in this issue of Studies in World Christianity analyse aspects of Asian Christianity Continue reading →