The Third Edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia has just been published. Edited by Todd Johnson and Gina Zurlo, published by Edinburgh University Press (2020) and produced by The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) based at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.
I was a co-contributor on the article on Ireland. Going from the accuracy and detail of that article this enclyopedia is a remarkable achievement, giving up to date analysis and summary of Christianity in individual nations globally.
The following is clipped from a recent newsletter of the CSGC on the shift of Christianity to the global south, the pressing social and political challenges millions of Christians face there, and the importance of women taking up leadership positions for the health and vitality of God’s global church.
One important finding of the latest WCE is the continued shift of Christianity to the Global South. In 1900, 18 percent of all Christians lived in the Global South. In 2020, 67 percent of Christians live in the global South. The single greatest change has been the remarkable and rapid growth of Christianity in Africa. From only 1.7 percent in 1900, by 2050, 39 percent of all Christians worldwide will live in Africa. For Protestants, this figure is even higher. Today, 44 percent of all Protestants are Africans and by 2050 it will likely be 55 percent.
The third edition of the WCE is different from the first two editions in its efforts to highlight pressing social issues of today’s world, ranging from conflict and violence, persecution, Christians in politics, and theological education, to medical ministries, gender inequality, etc. All of these have significant impacts on mission in places with low rankings on socio-economic-development measures.
While awareness is increasing of the growth of Christianity in, for example, sub-Saharan Africa, many overlook the critical realities that Christians face there. They are simply more vulnerable and less healthy than Christians in the West.
Another finding of the WCE is the contribution of women. Women play a tremendous role in churches around the world, ranging from ordained pastoral leadership to healthcare and education. Churches should think clearly about the unique contributions and gifts of women and encourage them to rise up into leadership positions.
In line with the changing face of global Christianity, the CSGC newsletter uses the image below, “Peace, Be Still” by Chinese-born artist James He Qi. Blending Chinese folk customs and Western art it portrays Jesus
2 thoughts on “Book Notice: World Christian Encyclopedia 3rd Edition”
Thanks for the review. Wonderful to see this new edition being released. (However you might want to check the spelling of that big word starting with e 🙂
ha! good spot – corrected thanks !