The Shape of Christian History: Continuity and Diversity in the Global Church

IVP Academic. Jun. 2022. 200p. ISBN 9781514002223. pap. $22. REL
Sunquist (president, Gordon-Conwell Seminary) argues that Western approaches to Christian history are hopelessly limited by Western/colonial perspectives, closing students off from any “transformative diversity,” which can only arise when taking a global perspective. In particular, Sunquist is acutely aware that Christianity’s greatest sustained growth in the last 100 years has been in the global South, especially Africa and Asia. In this regard, he seeks to demonstrate that historians must talk about multiple Christianities, especially those whose success is dependent upon neither colonialism nor state sponsorship, two profoundly Western missionary models. In essence, Sunquist offers a short, succinct model of how to understand church history in a global context, starting with incarnational theology as the bedrock of Christian faith and one that takes many forms in different times and cultural contexts. Non-Protestants might prickle at a few comments (Sunquist claims that how God is present in the Eucharist is less significant than the remembrance of Christ). An extensive bibliography rounds out this short but intriguing vision.
VERDICT A concise and succinct plan for reading and writing Christian history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing