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Elijah Kim: The Rise of the Global South

Elijah J. F. Kim, The Rise of the Global South: The Decline of Western Christendom and the Rise of Majority World Christianity (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012), 524 pages, ISBN 9781498263092.

Dr. Elijah J. F. Kim is Founder and President of Grain of Wheat College and Graduate School in the Philippines. He is also the President of Pathos Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts. The purpose of this foundation is to work for revival and awakening in America and the rest of the world. He is the overseer of A Grain of Wheat Christian Ministries in the Philippines. Dr. Kim served as the director of the Vitality Project of Emmanuel Gospel Center in Boston and is a former member of the Steering Committee of City Impact Roundtable, USA. He is the author of many books in English and other languages.

The Rise of the Global South is a very substantial volume, both in length and in content, it contains a wealth of information. In addition to the author’s writing the text contains graphs, tables, maps, and statistics that the author has drawn from a number of different sources. The research that was utilized in the writing of this book is quite extensive (the bibliography is a little over 28 pages long). In view of the scope of this book, this review will focus on some of the “big picture” themes that are found in it

“The center of gravity of the Christian faith has shifted from the West …”

The main text of this book consists of eight chapters: “Twenty-First Century Christianity,” “The Crisis of Christianity in Europe,” “What is European Christianity?,” Secularization in Europe,” “Revival Movements in Europe,” “American Awakenings and Revivals,” “The Secularization in the United States,” and “Global Trends in Christianity.” As these chapters unfold Dr. Kim examines the impact and decline of Christianity and its influence in both America and Europe over the course of many years. He gives the reader insight into why these fluctuations took place. His research is balanced in that it looks at both the significant moves of God in these lands as well as the forces that have contributed to diminishing the overall impact of the gospel in them. He also looks at Christianity in the Global South: Asia, Africa, and South America. The author points out that “The center of gravity of the Christian faith has shifted from the West to the non-West where the majority of the world’s Christians now live” (page xxiii). The growth of the church in the Global South (the non-West) has been very sizable. Dr. Kim helps us understand some of the reasons for this growth.

The reader will find a significant amount of church history in this book, both European history and American history. Many well-known ministers are mentioned, people like John Wesley, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, and D. L. Moody. In addition many renewal movements are mentioned, among them are, the Waldensians, the Methodists, and the Quakers. It should be noted that Europe and American did not both follow the exact same religious course, Dr. Kim notes the differences. The reader will also find information about specific denominations in the text. This data reveals that a number of mainline denominations have suffered significant losses in membership over the years.

The decline of the church at certain times has not always been due solely to weaknesses from within. Dr. Kim calls attention to various developments in the larger culture that have had negative effects on the church. He looks at the impact of urbanization, industrialization, and modernization. Though these things are not in and of themselves spiritual, or evil, they have at times had a negative impact on the faith of significant numbers of people.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2020

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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