Christianity Isn’t a Western Faith

Christianity Isn’t a Western Faith

Written by John Stonestreet and Timothy D. Padgett |
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Wherever it has gone, Christianity has transformed the indigenous culture to the better. The growth of this faith around the world has brought goods we can now see among Chinese Calvinists, African Anglicans, Native American Roman Catholics, and other tongues, tribes, nations, and languages whose great train of treasures will one day be offered as tribute to King Jesus in the New Jerusalem. 

Last month, according to the Congolese military, a militant group attacked a Pentecostal church, killing at least 10 and wounding scores of others. Though incidents like this are hardly new, they rarely make the news. Many in the Western world simply don’t realize how prevalent Christianity and Christian persecution are outside of Europe and North America. Plus, the creeping influence of “the critical theory mood” leaves the impression that because Christianity has been so influential in Western history, Christians must always be villains and can never be victims.  

This caricature of Christianity as a sort-of tribal faith of Westerners is flawed at the core. As Philip Jenkins argued in his book The Next Christendom, it took nearly a millennium and a half before the majority of Christians were Europeans. Even today, that is no longer the case. If we were true to the actual demographic realities, the “stereotypical” Christian would not be a white male but an African woman. In fact, from its inception, Christianity has always been a multiethnic, multilingual, and multicontinental faith. 

In part to oppose these false stereotypes of the Christian faith, apologist Abdu Murray has written the helpful book More Than a White Man’s Religion: Why the Gospel Has Never Been Merely White, Male-Centered, or Just Another ReligionAs the title indicates, Murray challenges the widely held idea that the Christianity to which he converted from Islam is just a tool for Western civilization, that it’s oppressive to women, or that it’s just a fabricated ideology determined to crush the human spirit. This book is especially important at a cultural moment like this, when so many misnomers about Christianity are repeated and unquestioned. 

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