Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why Churches Die

A little while ago I 'reviewed' The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins. Jenkins has been interviewed on Christianity Today about the other of church growth - and why some churches die.

It's well worth a read, and you can find it here.

Here's an excerpt:

CT: Why does persecution sometimes strengthen a church and other times wipe it out?

PJ: The difference is how far the church establishes itself among the mass of people and doesn't just become the church of a particular segment, a class or ethnic group. In North Africa, it's basically the church of Romans and Latin-speakers, as opposed to the church of peasants, with whom the Romans don't have much connection. When the Romans go, Christianity goes with them.

But Christianity establishes itself very early as a religion of the ordinary, everyday people in Egypt as things get translated into Coptic. As a result, after almost 1,400 years under Muslim rule, there is still a thriving Coptic church that represents [perhaps] 10 percent of the Egyptian people—which I would personally put forward as the greatest example of Christian survival in history

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