Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity/Global Awakening: How Twentieth-Century Revivals Triggered a Christian Revolution

Article excerpt

Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity. By Miriam Adeney. Downers Grove, III: InterVarsity Press, 2009. Pp. 294. Paperback $18.

Global Awakening: How Twentieth-Century Revivals Triggered a Christian Revolution. By Mark Shaw. Downers Grove, III.: InterVarsity Press, 2010. Pp. 221. Paperback $20.

Like two waves merging from different angles to crest together, these two publications break upon the scene of current studies in global Christianity and contribute significantly to its rising tide. For over thirty years now, scholars have pointed out the recent, seismic shift in the center of Christianity from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Yet as Miriam Adeney and Mark Shaw attest, we still grapple to understand and respond appropriately to this revolutionary change in our religious scene. Thus Adeney is compelled to narrate "the untold story of global Christianity" (p. 11), and Shaw to question its causes and implications.

Adeney introduces her book as "a continuation of Hebrews 11, that great list of people down the ages who lived and died by faith" (p. 8). Drawing upon personal encounters and published accounts, she employs her notable gift of storytelling to narrate the ordinary but extraordinary lives of Christians around the world. Far from abstract, academic discourse, her work creatively weaves together real-life experiences with reflections on the major missiological issues they illustrate: for example, suffering and martyrdom, Internet use in evangelism and discipleship, interfaith relations, and environmental stewardship. Overall, she affirms that "God is doing something new in our time. . . . This book is not primarily about us [Christians in the West] or what we should do. It is a humble celebration of the kingdom that glows [sic] from generation to generation and will never be destroyed" (p. 40) - a kingdom without borders.

Shaw notes the remarkable resurgence of Christianity worldwide, contrary to widespread twentieth-century assumptions that secularization would supersede religion, especially Christianity. …