Paul Marshall Lecture at #Baylor Sept. 19 | "Blasphemy and Other Threats to Freedom of Religion and Speech" https://t.co/8wHFGeeqDF
Incorporating Religion into the U.S. History Survey https://t.co/iu3cHdi0b4 @AndreaLTurpin @USReligionBlog
ISR Interview: A Godly Sociology of Religion - Rodney Stark https://t.co/BCTWPqQB5J
How To Survive Graduate School https://t.co/YIQK9gjt47 Thomas Kidd @TGC
Becoming a More Sensible Evidentialist about Jesus - Stephen Wykstra lecture Aug. 22 https://t.co/Ofq9GfxUwK
Rescuing Syriac Manuscripts in Iraq - The ASOR Blog https://t.co/wHcMzptt7d
The Fence: Mainline Protestants and Immigration Sixty Years Ago https://t.co/QlBENynzYv @USReligionBlog @nickphistory
Crucible of Faith https://t.co/nk532jB1L6 Philip Jenkins on his new book @anxious_bench @BasicBooks
Paul Froese on Meaning and Purpose - ISR ReligionWatch https://t.co/HywQz3LQcg
Baylor Launches Center for Christian Philosophy | @Baylor University https://t.co/aRXOb93cuT via @baylorumedia

ISR’s Philip Jenkins: Looking south instead of north for Christianity growth – McMurry University lecture

Peeking into the future of Christianity is as simple as looking south — way south.Abilene Reporter news

Look at almost any denomination and its numerical center has shifted from the Global North to the Global South, a guest lecturer said this week at McMurry University.

“It has in a good sense gone south,” said Philip Jenkins, co-director of Historical Studies of Religion in Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.

Jenkins was guest speaker Monday and Tuesday for the Sikes-Melugin Lectureship at McMurry. He spoke on “What Will Christianity Look Like in 2050?” and “How Global Christianity Will Transform American Churches.”

Two years ago, Jenkins spoke on the same topics at a conference at Abilene Christian University. Numbers are extremely important to Jenkins, who tracks statistics on religion and other topics. An important number to remember, Jenkins said two years ago at ACU and again this week at McMurry, is “2.1”

That is the fertility rate — 2.1 children born to one woman in a population — needed to sustain stability, Jenkins said. Among other outcomes, if a country’s fertility rate drops below that number, it will have a shrinking, aging population.

In much of Europe, Jenkins said, the fertility rate has dropped as low as 1.1.

“Societies like that,” he said, “tend to be very secular.”

On the other hand, societies in the Global South, such as Africa, developing Asia and Latin America, have increasing fertility rates and tend to be more religious. Global South and Global North are terms used to describe socio-economic and political divides, with the north being wealthier and more developed.

The Christian population in Africa in 1900 was 10 million. In 2015, it had reached 500 million and by 2050, the Christian population in Africa is projected to be more than 1 billion.

“You want to talk about church growth,” Jenkins said at the McMurry lectureship, “that’s church growth.”

There are more Christian hymns today than at any time in history, Jenkins said, but added that most of the people present at McMurry wouldn’t be able to read the lyrics. That’s because the majority of Christian hymns today are being written in Swahili and other African languages.

Jenkins, who teaches at a Baptist university, said he isn’t concerned about Christianity disappearing in the United States or other countries in the Global North. But the face of it is changing.

Today, some of the largest and fastest growing churches in the United States are immigrant churches. In what may be one of the great ironies of all time, Jenkins said, a huge immigrant church from Africa is now headquartered outside Greenville, home of the infamous “welcome” banner that stretched across the main street for years. It proudly proclaimed Greenville to home of “The Blackest Land and The Whitest People.”
The racist banner eventually came down.

Today, Jenkins noted, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, a Pentecostal denomination established in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1952, has its American headquarters near Greenville.

The “Redemption Camp,” as the headquarters facility is called, features a 700-seat auditorium. According to the church’s website, it plans to buy more land for dormitories, cabins, a 10,000-seat arena and a water park.
For Jenkins, comparing that reality to the “welcome banner” days of old can only elicit a chuckle.
“You tell me,” he said, “God does not have a sense of humor.”

REPOSTED FROM THE ABILENE REPORTER NEWS