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World Christianity Conference to explore Christianity’s interactions with other faiths

Examining Christianity’s increasingly diverse and dynamic global population

PRINCETON, N.J. | Princeton Theological Seminary is holding its third annual World Christianity Conference virtually this March 3-6, featuring scholars from across the globe. This year’s conference will focus on Christianity’s interaction with other faiths, and is organized by professors Afe Adogame, Raimundo Barreto, and Richard F. Young in the Department of History and Ecumenics.

“World Christianity pays attention to the unsung, unheard stories of Christianity, particularly in those places that used to be considered the mission field,” says Adogame, the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Religion and Society. “The perception used to be that Africa, Asia, and Latin America were the mission field. But that narrative has changed.”

An enormous growth in Christianity across the Global South and a drop in the proportion of Europeans and Americans who identify as Christian has upended the long-held view of Europe as the center of the faith. The center of gravity has shifted from the Global North, serving notice that the future of the faith will look increasingly diverse and dynamic. This momentous change has fueled bold new scholarship in the field of world Christianity, with scholars from Princeton Seminary taking a leading role. The World Christianity Virtual Conference will provide an interdisciplinary space for intellectual encounter and exchange for attendees and speakers alike.

Keynote speakers for the March conference are Professor Emeritus Andrew F. Walls of The University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and Professor Shobana Shankar of Stony Brook University in the United States. Special panels include “Andrew F. Walls and the Making of World Christianity” and “Ogbu U. Kalu and the Shaping of World Christianity.” Individual presentations will address a range of topics, including “Multiple Religious Believing Without Multiple Religious Belonging?: Buddhist, Hindu, and Traditional Cosmology in Cambodian Christianity,” “Becoming Jewish, Believing in Jesus? The Case of the ‘Judaizing Evangelicals’ in Brazil,” and “Constructing Islam in German East Africa: Missionary Perspectives and a Misalignment of Discourses.”

Barreto, associate professor of world Christianity, tells his students that knowledge of world Christianity is essential for effective ministry in a world-changing rapidly through globalization.

“Our communities are becoming increasingly and irreversibly plural,” Barreto says. “It is almost impossible to minister without some understanding of other cultures, other Christian traditions, other religions, and their histories.”

Registration is open for the World Christianity Virtual Conference. Learn more at https://www.ptsem.edu/events/world-christianity-conference.

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