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Boundless FaithThe Global Outreach of American Churches$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520259157

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520259157.001.0001

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The Global Christianity Paradigm

The Global Christianity Paradigm

From Cultural Connection to Demographic Distance

(p.32) Chapter 2 The Global Christianity Paradigm
Boundless Faith

Robert Wuthnow

University of California Press

The paradigm shift that has occurred in recent years in understandings of global Christianity has correctly emphasized the numeric increases in population in certain parts of the world outside of the United States and Europe and thus has drawn attention to the vitality of new churches in those regions. However, in making their claim, proponents of the new paradigm have oversimplified the complexity of these developments. They have relied too heavily on population projections and used categories that are ambiguous at best and misleading at worst. Instead of focusing on the cultural connections among different parts of the world, they have emphasized demography to the exclusion of these connections. The emerging formulation has been influenced by two interesting background stories—one about secularization and one about colonialism—that have made it attractive but also problematic. The chapter discusses all the paradigms of global Christianity.

Keywords:   demography, global Christianity, secularization, colonialism, cultural connections

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