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Global Gospel

An Introduction to Christianity on Five Continents

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In this pathbreaking book, award-winning author Douglas Jacobsen describes global Christianity and provides a framework for understanding the varied experiences of Christians around the world. Focusing on the five big continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, Jacobsen recounts their differing histories, contemporary experiences, and cultural theologies. In the current era of massive and dynamic global challenges, this accessible and fair-minded volume sets the stage for Christians worldwide to engage the gospel--and each other--more deeply.

Global Gospel contains numerous maps, charts, and illustrations that aid comprehension. Professors and students of the history of Christianity, global Christianity, and missions will value this work, as will all readers interested in world Christianity. Accompanying videos can be found on YouTube's "Global Christianity" channel (

This book is also accompanied by free online resources. Click the red eSources banner above for more information.

1. Global Christianity: A Very Brief History
2. Four Christian Traditions
3. Africa
4. Latin America
5. Europe
6. Asia
7. North America


"Douglas Jacobsen has provided a succinct, well-organized, and clearly written historical account of contemporary Christianity as a truly global religion. Broad coverage of geographical regions and theological traditions--including very helpful graphs, charts, and bibliography--underscores the book's emphasis on diversity. For a Christian world that is continuing to change with unprecedented speed, Global Gospel offers unusually perceptive guidance."

Mark A. Noll, McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame; author of Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity

"What sets Global Gospel apart from other world Christianity textbooks is its masterful interweaving of historical narrative and theological analysis; helpful inclusion of figures, sidebars, and demographic data and trends; and expert deployment of primary sources and the best scholarship in the field. It provides teachers an invaluable resource to frame their lectures and spur discussion. Students will be informed, initiated, and inspired. We are all indebted to Douglas Jacobsen."

Amos Yong, author of Renewing Christian Theology: Systematics for a Global Christianity

"As someone who teaches courses in global Christianity, I can testify to the need for this book: a fine, comprehensive introduction to the astonishing diversity of the worldwide church. Jacobsen does not minimize real differences, but he does urge and enable readers to recognize their relationship with parts of the church they may find strange, even disturbing. I particularly appreciate how his background makes him especially sensitive to the sometimes-neglected stream of Pentecostalism. This book will be a useful guide for years to come."

Michael Kinnamon, former general secretary, National Council of Churches; distinguished professor of ecumenical and interfaith ministries, New Theological Seminary of the West

"Douglas Jacobsen has accomplished a rare--and much-welcomed--feat. His Global Gospel is uncomplicated and accessible in style yet encyclopedic in content. Writing with equal parts clarity and comprehensiveness, Jacobsen has created a text that introduces the histories of the Christian churches around the world. With its helpful graphics and lucid writing, this book is sure to become a standard textbook and reference work for years to come."

Todd E. Johnson, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Douglas Jacobsen

    Douglas Jacobsen

    Douglas Jacobsen (PhD, University of Chicago) is distinguished professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of ten books, including Gracious Christianity; Thinking in the...

    Continue reading about Douglas Jacobsen


"An extremely good and readable introduction to Christianity in its historical contexts and present global realities, one that can be of great help to its readers in understanding and digesting all these changes. This book is concise, incisive, and very well-organized. . . . Besides the very well-crafted text, the book contains useful images, graphs, and maps, along with a good bibliography at the end for further reading. This is a compact introduction to the subject of global Christianity, but for a relatively modest book it still contains a trove of information, knowledge, and analysis that can be useful to many different levels of readers. . . . If you wanted one book to help you make sense of the whole of the Christian community in the twenty-first century, this would be the one to choose. . . . I will be using this book with my students. . . . An excellent and supremely useful book--I highly recommend it."

Mark Granquist,

Word & World

"A clearly organized and remarkably engaging introduction that effectively steers novice readers through the cacophony of conflicting theological voices and sometimes shockingly varied expressions of global Christianity. . . . [Jacobsen] successfully pitches his text to undergraduates, and has a knack for choosing effective historical details and pithy theological quotations that genuinely illuminate his argument. . . . [The book] blend[s] refreshingly straightforward prose with helpful maps, graphs, and sidebars that drive home his message. . . . He has successfully condensed a stunning amount of scholarship into a relatively short introductory text. And he presents it in an engaging style that undergraduates will enjoy and that professors and church leaders will surely appreciate when they need helpful lecture material. . . . Provocative in the best sense, it will be an invaluable resource for academics and church leaders alike who seek an effective tool to foster deep self-examination and constructive discussion."

James R. Rohrer,

Fides et Historia