Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, caused an international stir with his book The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity (Oxford, 2002), which detailed the rapid expansion of Christianity in the "global South." CT senior associate editor Stan Guthrie spoke with Jenkins about the sequel, The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South (Oxford, 2006)...
Global South Christians are closer to the economic and social world of the Bible than many Western Christians. How does this affect their religious life?
Things in the Bible make more intuitive sense. For a long time in Europe, for example, it's been a very plausible defense to say, "These rules in the Bible are laid down for a totally different, alien society. We have to change with the times." But for many modern Africans, the Bible describes a world they can see around them. And that gives more credibility to the moral or theological content of the Bible. Also, food is a very strong element in the Bible, and we tend not to see that in a society where the main food-related story is an alleged obesity epidemic....
CT interviews Philip Jenkins