Thursday, April 24, 2008

Europe - Death and Resurrection

From the newsletter of Jeff Fountain, director of YWAM Europe - referring to Philip Jenkins' God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis:
::: A persistent undercurrent of spirituality remains among old-stock Europeans, expressed in 'surprisingly medieval forms of devotion' such as pilgrimage, which is enjoying widespread revival as a spiritual exercise. Devotion among youth is evidenced by the 100,000 youth visiting Taizé each summer, the one million attending World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005, and engagement in many new movements both Catholic and Protestant including Focolare, the Alpha movement, ProChrist, the Thomas Mass for contemporary 'doubters', Soul Survivor... and on the list goes.

::: Immigration into Europe is usually associated with Islam, but many immigrants are Christians, a major factor in the shape of tomorrow's Christianity. Not only will the high birth rate among the rapidly-expanding immigrant churches boost the Christian figures, but these new Europeans are turning Catholic, protestant and charismatic-Pentecostal churches into centres of vibrant and colourful worship and witness. Of Britain's ten largest churches, four are pastored by Africans. Europe's largest church, in Kiev, is pastored by a Nigerian.

::: In short, Islam's encounter with Europe is likely to create an ever-more adaptable form of faith that can cope with social change without compromising basic beliefs. At the same time, and contrary to expectation, Christianity is surviving amid 'Eurosecularity' and could well emerge stronger for the challenge.

::: [Phillip] Jenkins suggest that perhaps the best indicator that Christianity is
about to revive is a widespread conviction that the religion is doomed or in its closing days. After all, he reminds his readers, the Christian faith is all about death and resurrection. The quote heading the last chapter reads: "If you are the type of person who buys stocks and bonds, I'd buy Christianity. The price now is very low... it has to go up."
For more [although this issue isn't online yet] see http://www.ywam.eu/weeklyword/2008/

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