Global Gospel

An Introduction to Christianity on Five Continents

Materials available for professors by request only


1. Global Christianity: A Very Brief History

Discussion Questions

  1. How much diversity should exist within Christianity? Can all views and practices be tolerated, or are some views and practices so divergent from the norm that they should be called heresy? How do you make such judgments?

  2. The book of Acts seems to say that both the guidance of the Holy Spirit and common sense were part of decision-making in the early church. How do these two elements influence how you make decisions?

  3. The Christian Roman Empire eventually decided to favor one and only one form of Christianity as the official religion of the state. Was this a good decision? Could it have been avoided? Should it have been avoided? Does this decision from the past continue to influence Christians today (and if so, how)?

  4. How did Alopen’s understanding of Christianity and its relation to culture differ from Christian self-understanding in the Roman Empire?

  5. Why did Christianity falter in Asia during the years 1000 to 1500, and why did Christianity flourish in Europe during these same years?

  6. Scholars and Christian leaders have often tried to simplify the complexity of global Christianity by dividing Christians worldwide into two categories. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the terms Christendom and foreign mission fields were often used to define this twoness. In the mid-twentieth century, the labels older churches and younger churches became popular. Today many people use the language of global Christian North versus global Christian South. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different paired terms for describing global Christianity as a whole? Are all of them problematic to some degree?

  7. What does it mean to describe the contemporary global Christian movement as “flat”? Is the contemporary Christian world really “flat” or do some regions of the world still exercise more influence and control over the world Christian movement than others? What would be required for Christianity worldwide to become genuinely “flat”? Is this something to which Christians worldwide should aspire?