Latin American Christianity in the US: A Window Into the Study of Migrant Christianity and its Theological Benefits

Iglesia Gospel Temple, Los Angeles, California, USA. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Matheus Reis is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on Brazilian Protestantism in the United States. This essay continues our series discussing issues raised in the ‘Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity’ conference at Princeton Theological Seminary held 18–20 January 2018. Our series began with a reflection on the conference by Jason Bruner on 30 January and continued with posts from Elizabeth Marteijn on 13 February and 19 March.

The recent conversation on this blog has been focused on World Christianity’s methodologies. Both Jason Bruner and Elizabeth Marteijn note that the quest for interdisciplinarity and openness is a mark of much current research. In this post, I look at how Latin American Christianity in the United States presents an opportunity for interdisciplinary study, and I offer some benefits that may arise from such a study. Continue reading

Looking Eastward: The Middle East in the Field of World Christianity

Elizabeth Marteijn is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. Her research brings together the methods of theology and ethnography in the study of Palestinian Christianity. Her post here continues our series discussing the conference titled ‘Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity’ at Princeton Theological Seminary held 18–20 January 2018. Our series began with an essay by Jason Bruner on 30 January and continued with a post from Elizabeth on 13 February.

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In the field of World Christianity, scholars regularly speak about the ‘global South’ and the ‘global North’. But what about the East? By asking this question, I would like to elaborate on the recent post by Jason Bruner, where he excellently reflected on the thought-provoking World Christianity conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary from 18–20 January. Bruner rightfully highlighted remarks being made about territoriality in the field, that areas like the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and denominations like Orthodoxy and Eastern Christianity have a marginal position. Continue reading

Billy Graham (1918–2018): Prophet of World Christianity?

Billy Graham in 1966. (Photo by Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection, Library of Congress)

Most of the notices and obituaries of Billy Graham, who died on 21 February 2018, have focused on his significance for Christianity in the United States. Dubbed ‘America’s pastor’ by President George H. W. Bush in 2007, Graham seemed to be the quintessential American preacher – handsome, dapper, eloquent, uncompromising in his presentation of the gospel, and apparently quite untroubled by modern questions about the reliability of the Bible. He was on first-name terms with a string of American presidents from Eisenhower to Obama. He was also a typical product of the Bible belt in the American south. At first he accepted racial segregation, even in Christian meetings, as a fact of life and his relationship with the civil rights movement – notably with Martin Luther King – was at times a fractious one. Continue reading

World Christianity and Interdisciplinarity: Combining Theology and Social Sciences in the Field of World Christianity

Elizabeth Marteijn is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh. Her research brings together the methods of theology and ethnography in the study of Palestinian Christianity. She attended the conference on World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary from 18–20 January 2018 and offers the following in conversation with Jason Bruner’s recent essay on this blog.

Cornelis de Man, A Scholar in His Study

The goal of the recent World Christianity conference, held at Princeton Theological Seminary from 18–20 January, was to inquire into the state of the field considering the currents, perspectives and methodologies. One of the conclusions was the fruitfulness of the intersection between theology and social sciences, in particular ethnography and the anthropology of Christianity, within the field of World Christianity, as was highlighted earlier on this blog by Jason Bruner.

In this post, I will explore some of the reasons why the intersection between theology and social sciences is proving so popular. One part of the answer is that World Christianity has developed as an interdisciplinary academic enterprise, with historical, missiological, theological and social-scientific interests. In addition, there have been trends in World Christianity in which different approaches blended together. Firstly, after the publication of the seminal works of Robert Schreiter and Stephen Bevans in the 1980s and 1990s, a proliferation of contextual theological works appeared.1 With this attention to the context, theology becomes to a greater extent a matter of reflection on human life in view of the Christian tradition and opens up to social-scientific study. Secondly, there are trends to study theological reflection and engagement of ordinary people by interviewing them. Diane Stinton and Jason Carter have produced two such works.2 I consider these trends as preliminary to the recent interest in the intersection between anthropology, theology and World Christianity. Continue reading

Dr Emma Wild-Wood: Where does the wisdom of the white man come in?

Dr Emma Wild-Wood delivered the lecture ‘Where does the wisdom of the white man come in? The Interpretations, Problems and Possibilities of Missionary Sources in the History of Christianity in Africa’ on 6 February 2018 in the jointly hosted Centre for the Study of World Christianity and History of Christianity research seminars at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

Scripture, Prayer, and Worship – Call for Papers

Scripture, Prayer, and Worship
in the History of Missions and World Christianity

Annual Meeting of Yale-Edinburgh Group
on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity

New College, University of Edinburgh, June 28–30, 2018
Deadline: March 12 March 28, 2018

Scripture, prayer, and worship have been basic activities in almost all missions and manifestations of World Christianity, which should ensure a plentiful fund of material for reflection, comparison and discussion and give hope of illumination and deeper understanding of our field. Continue reading

Questioning a Paradigm: World Christianity

This guest post was written by Dr Jason Bruner, assistant professor of religious studies at Arizona State University, as a reflection on the recent conference “Currents, Perspectives, And Methodologies In World Christianity” held at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr Bruner’s most recent book is entitled Living Salvation in the East African Revival in Uganda. He can often be found on Twitter @jason_bruner.

Is World Christianity a field, a sub-discipline, an analytical disposition? What are its methods, if any? And where is research in relation to it going at present? I will reflect on these questions in light of the proceedings of a recent conference, convened at Princeton Theological Seminary from January 18-20, 2018, which gathered a remarkable group of scholars from around the world who saw their work as intersecting with World Christianity. Continue reading

Prof. Andrew Walls: European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity

Prof. Andrew Walls delivered the lecture ‘European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity’ on 26 September 2017 in the research seminar of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.