Archives For Asia

 

Which Asia?  Which Christianity? A Review of

Christianities in Asia
Edited by Peter C. Phan.
Paperback: Wiley, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Jeff Romack

Is it “Asian Christianity” or “Asian Christianities?”  This is the question posed at the very outset of this work.  In the opening and introductory chapter the volume’s editor, Peter C. Phan, explains that either term is correct depending on one’s perspective.  Since there are basic beliefs and recognizable practices associated with the Christian faith that are essential and common to virtually all Christian communities in Asia it is possible and, at times, appropriate to speak of “Asian Christianity.”  At the same time, it must also be recognized that a vast array of historical and cultural factors has given rise to a great diversity of expression of those basic beliefs and practices among Christianity’s adherents on the Asian continent.  For this reason it is also proper to speak of “Asian Christianities.”  It is this latter perspective that is held in focus in this book.

Many North America Christians are aware at some level of the cultural diversity found in Asia that gives rise to diverse expressions of the Christian faith but not all are quick to accept the validity of those diverse expressions.  Christianities in Asia; however, was not written to present the case for the validity of contextualized Christianity.  This is simply assumed and then presented as it is found in each nation.  This, it seems to me, is indicative that the book is not really intended for a popular audience.  After all, as I pound out this review on the computer my spell checker reminds me that “Christianities” is a misspelled word or may not be a word at all!  And, the Amazon.com ad for this book shows the cover of the paperback edition with the title, Christianity in Asia.  What were they thinking?  The case for contextualized Christianity is one that still needs to be made for most North American Christians even as they practice their own form of it.

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“The Heart of the Global Resurgence of Christianity”

A Review of Global Awakening:
How 20th Century Revivals Triggered

A Christian Revolution.
By Mark Shaw.

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

A Review of Global Awakening:
How 20th Century Revivals Triggered

A Christian Revolution.
Mark Shaw.
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Mark Shaw - GLOBAL AWAKENINGFor many of us, the very word “revival” brings images of tents filled with folding chairs on a hot summer night and a preacher wiping his brow in the heat as he makes emotional pleas for us to avoid hell and accept Jesus today so we can go to heaven if we should die tonight.

Revivals?  Aren’t revivals quirky folk rituals associated with rural America and nineteenth-century camp meetings?    Didn’t they pass out of fashion with hula hoops and Edsels?  For many, revivals are little more than relics of a distant past.  They belong more to an age of ploughs and prairies than of postmodernity and globalization.  And like King Arthur’s sword in the stone, the term may be so deeply embedded in American folk culture that any attempt to extract it is doomed to failure.  Yet the sword in the stone is moving.  The news of revivalism’s death has been greatly exaggerated.  Revivals like forces of nature are protean, constantly adjusting their features and ferocity to new times and to new places… They learned to speak Spanish, Portuguese, Yoruba, Korean, Mandarin and Gujarati…and crossed the equator   (12).

It will be difficult for some to think beyond their little box and see revival in a new and different light because of those old preconceived ideas and notions.   What an incredible study the author has done here as he has closely examined the working and moving of God in many places in our world over the last century.  He has truly “done his homework” and given us much to chew on and think about in this writing.

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