20th Century Turning Points

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Historian Mark Noll writes:

“If it were possible to summarize the momentous changes in world Christianity over the course of the twentieth century, five themes might emerge:

  • The decline of Christianity in Europe as a result of a steady erosion in Western Europe and the traumatic class with communism in Eastern Europe.

  • The renovation of the Roman Catholic Church, symbolized by the 2nd Vatican Council, to reflect both cultural conditions of the modern world and the growing presence of the Two-Thirds-World in the Church.

  • The displacement among Protestants of Britain and Germany as the driving agents of Christian expansion by the United States.

  • The expansion of Christianity into many regions where the Christian presence had been minimal or nonexistent, including China, Korea, many parts of India and much of Africa.

  • A change in the pressing issues bearing upon the Christian heartland, from the jaded discontents of advanced Western civilization to the raw life-and-death struggle of poverty, disease, and the tribal warfare in non-Western civilizations.”

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