Standing Alone

Philip Jenkins

in The Next Christendom

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146165
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834341 | DOI:
 Standing Alone

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This chapter traces the development of Southern Christianity in the post-colonial era and notes that with few exceptions and despite Western Christian concern, the new churches have survived and flourished. Some of the greatest triumphs have been enjoyed precisely by the structures created by colonial authorities–the mainstream Catholic and Protestant mission churches. However, although these older churches and missions are the primary fact, there are also many smaller independent indigenous Christian cults/denominations, which have arisen where older groupings have proved inadequate for a changing society; these are often Pentecostal and may be either indigenous or Northern in origin. This type of growth is particularly evident in Latin America, where there has been a major defection from Catholicism to Protestantism (including Pentecostalism); the boom in Pentecostal sects in Latin America and the Catholic response to this are described, and similar Protestant and Pentecostal expansion in the African independent churches/denominations and in Asia outlined. The last part of the chapter investigates the reasons for the expansion of Christianity in diverse cultures, looking in particular at some of the radical Pentecostal communities that have developed and at the common characteristics of Pentecostal sects and what people want from them, the critical idea being that God intervenes directly in everyday life and provides solutions to problems; this is a clear differentiation from Northern Christianity.

Keywords: Africa; African independent churches; Asia; Asian independent churches; Catholic mission churches; Catholicism; independent Christian churches; intervention by God; Latin America; mission churches; Northern Christianity; Pentecostalism; post-colonial era; Protestant mission churches; Protestantism; radical communities; Southern Christianity; Western Christianity

Chapter.  10218 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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