by Miriam Adeney
Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity is a sweeping appraisal of the global advance of Christianity and the state of the Church around the world.
InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 294 pages, 2009, $18.00.
—Reviewed by Murray Decker, Ph.D., associate professor of intercultural studies at Biola University.
Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity is a sweeping appraisal of the global advance of Christianity and the state of the Church around the world. Miriam Adeney surveys the globe region-by-region, highlighting key themes and telling stories of sacrifice, struggle, and triumph by believers in nation after nation. As an introductory text to global Christianity, Kingdom without Borders explores the contemporary advance of the gospel with particular attention to the Global South: Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the introduction, Adeney states, “Some memorable speeches or writings will be quoted. But your favorite organization or leader may be missing. This book is illustrative, not exhaustive. As the Apostle John wrote at the end of his gospel, if all the relevant data were included, the whole earth would not be able to contain the books.”
In his seminal book, The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins captured the attention of the academic world by arguing convincingly that the global advance of Christianity was not only one of the greatest untold stories of the twentieth century, but an emerging political and ideological force throughout the Global South. For many (even in the Christian academy), that book came as a shock, showing how rapidly the worldwide Church is growing, and once and for all shattered the illusion that Christianity is a white, North Atlantic faith. Adeney takes Jenkins’ observations a step further by personalizing the stories of these southern believers. This is not a statistically heavy book, nor a dry country-by-country ledger of church growth accounting. Rather, Adeney introduces the reader to the simple yet powerful faith stories of representative Christians in Thailand, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Columbia, and many more nations.
Adeney highlights meta-trends such as churches planted, missionaries sent, ministries started, and key challenges faced by believers. She cites statistics as needed. Every chapter contains personal accounts of serving with friends, former students, and international colleagues in their nations. She often presents information in the form of dramatized dialog between fictional actors in the various contextual situations. Her work with international student groups has given her an amazing vantage point to see what God is doing on campuses around the world. This is a deeply personal book: a testimony to the faithfulness of God in the lives of his people around the globe.
This book would be suitable for an introductory course in global Christianity or perhaps as the last text used in a history of the expansion of Christianity course. Church workers would find this text accessible for the average church member or useful for a small group or Sunday school class.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 248. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.