Readers of the magazine Books & Culture may have relished the opportunity for an intellectual donnybrook when they saw that Philip Jenkins was reviewing a new book by Steve Bruce on secularization. After all, Jenkins's new book, The Next Christendom, whose thesis about the growth of Christianity outside the West has been widely circulated, practically contradicts Bruce's argument in God Is Dead, a book that defends at length the secularization thesis. But the fireworks never ignited. Jenkins did disagree with Bruce, both conceding that secularization may explain the weaknesses of European Christianity and countering that it fails in the case of the religious vitality of the United States. But he ignored the implications that Bruce's understanding of secularization has for interpreting the amazing growth and vitality of Pentecostalism and charismatic Christianity in South America, Africa, and Asia.
Darryl G. Hart is Director of Fellowship Programs at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (Wilmington, Delaware) and author of several books including, John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist (P&R, 2005) and A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State (Ivan R. Dee, 2006).
Issue: "Good News: The Gospel for Christians" May/June 2003 Vol. 12 No. 3 Page number(s): 47-48
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