Is Christianity a non-western religion?

Is Christianity a non-western religion? TWU invites the public to attend free lectures on the topic.

It might be surprising to learn that more than 60% of Christians in the world today are surprisingly not Europeans or North Americans but instead are Africans, Asians and Latin Americans. For some, accepting that these Christians are more likely to be people with darker skin colours and from poor nations, as opposed to the stereotypical white person in rich western nations can be difficult. Is this a major shift in the very nature of Christianity itself, or is it the renewal of what is in reality a non-western religion?

These questions will be explored as Trinity Western University's Masters in Interdisciplinary Humanities program hosts a controversial series of public lectures exploring the nature and growth of non-western Christianity. Taking place from January through to March, the lectures are part of the course "History of non-western Christianity," taught by Abbotsford resident and TWU professor Dr. Bob Burkinshaw.

BobB-speaking1 Says Burkinshaw, "The lecture series offers an opportunity to confront the reality of Christianity as it appears today in our modern world. Who are calling themselves Christians today and what does this tell us about the nature of Christianity? Things have dramatically changed since the mid 20th century. Old stereotypes no longer work and it's important to allow a forum for this discussion to occur."

BobB-speaking3 "Many historians argue that what we are seeing is primarily a return to the non-western basis of Christianity," continues Burkinshaw. "Before 1400 A.D. Christianity was more based in Asia and Africa, and then from the 1400's to the mid 1900's, Europe (and North America) became the dominant heartland of Christianity. But explosive growth throughout the twentieth century shifted the balance back to non-western nations."

BobB-speaking2 Experts throughout the seminars will speak on topics including Islam and Christian relations in the medieval period, Christian minorities in the Middle East, Christianity in China, Christianity in several regions of Africa, and the ‘explosion' of Pentecostalism in Latin America.

The first lecture taking place on January 31st features Dr. Gordon Nickel of ACTS Seminary whose lecture is entitled "Authentic Engagement: Christians meet the Muslim conquerors. Christianity and Islam, 8th to 12th Centuries."

More information on the lecture series exploring the nature and growth of non-western Christianity can be found by visiting:

Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.



Last Updated: 2009-02-04
Author: Erin Mussolum