Santa Clara University



See also Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism.

1. Brief Introduction
2. Religion and Politics Sections
3. A Short Introductory Course
4. Other Resource Materials
5. Recent Articles

1. Brief Introduction:

Christians believe in the ultimate significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, a first-century Jew from Roman Palestine. Shortly after his death, the Apostle Paul began preaching the Good News (“Gospel”) to gentiles. The Christian tradition thus saw its first development in the Roman Empire where it attained state toleration in 313 C.E under the Emperor Constantine. Shortly thereafter, Constantine made it the official religion of the Empire and presided over the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Constantinian establishment began the long and tortured history of church-state relations in the both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. The first great split within Christianity occurred between East and West in 1054 when the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope disagreed over both theological and institutional issues.

The second great split, the Protestant Reformation, began in 1517, and within the sixteenth century the general geographic contours of European Christianity were established. The continent became Protestant in the north, Catholic in the south, and Orthodox in the East. Like Islam, Christianity remains a strongly missionary religion. Both Catholic and Protestant traditions followed the European expansion of the last five hundred years so that, for example, Latin America became predominantly Catholic and sub-Saharan Africa predominantly Protestant. However, recently Pentecostalism has expanded in Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa has always had a significant Catholic presence. There are also many African independent churches. In Asia, the Philippines remains predominantly Catholic and South Korea sends forth the second largest contingent of Christian missionaries globally.

2. Religion and Politics Sections:

“Religions of the Book: Historical Revelation, Scripture, Law, and Worldview” (pp. 92-95)

“Western Christianity and the Byzantine Empire” (pp. 98-101)

“The Protestant Reformation, Wars of Religion, and Secularism” (pp. 105-07)

“V. The West: Christianity, Secularization, and Immigration” (pp. 123-63)

“The Korean Peninsula: North-South Competition in the EMC Systems” (pp. 182-88)

“The Future of East Asia in the EMC Systems” (pp. 188-97)

“IX. Latin America: Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Globalization” (pp. 260-94)

“Global Religious Dialogues and Political-Religious Alliances” (pp. 307-15)

3. A Short Introductory Course:

The Orthodox scholar Pelican narrates the historical development of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Ecumenical theologian Hans Küng provides a concise introduction to Christian spirituality and history. The New Faces of Christianity is a popular exposition of Christianity’s increasing orientation toward the Southern Hemisphere at the beginning of the third millennium. Spohn joins the scriptural and philosophical traditions in the formation of a Christian ethics. Coleman has brought together a fine selection of articles under the headings of State and Civil Society, Boundaries and Justice, Pluralism, International Society, and War and Peace.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. Whose Bible is it? A History of Scripture Through the Ages. (New York: Penguin, 2005).

Küng, Hans, “Christianity” in Tracing the Way: Spiritual Dimensions of the World Religions (New York: Continuum, 2002), 195-233.

Jenkins, Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Spohn, William. Go and Do Likewise: Jesus and Ethics. (New York: Continuum, 2000).

Coleman, John A., ed. Christian Political Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). 

4. Other Resource Materials:

Berger, Peter L., “Christianity: The Global Picture,” World Religions and Democracy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 2005), 146-52.

Bouta, Tsjeard, Kadayifci-Orellana, S. Ayse, and Abu-Nimer, Mohammed. Faith-Based Peace-Building: Mapping and analysis of Christian, Muslim, and Multi-faith Actors. The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 2005.

Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization (New York: Doubleday, 1995).

Chidester, David. Christianity: A Global History (San Francisco: Harper, 2000).

Davies, Norman. Europe: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Dawson, Christopher. The Making of Europe (Cleveland: Meridian, 1956).

Gaustad, Edwin S. Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson (Grand Rapids, Mi.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996).

Gregory, Brad S. Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Jenkins, Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Little, David, “Conscientious Individualism: A Christian Perspective on Ethical Pluralism,” Madsen, Richard, and Strong, Tracy B., eds. The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 229-56.

Poewe, Karla, ed. Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture. (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1994).

Sanneh, Lamin. Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel beyond the West. (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2003).

Sannah, Lamin, and Carpenter, Joel A., eds. The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West, and the World. (New York: Oxford, 2005).

Steigenga, Timothy J., and Cleary, Edward L., eds. Conversion of a Continent: Contemporary Religious Change in Latin America (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007). A fine description of the current state of Latin American Christianity, Protestant and Catholic, in all its interactions between and within religious groups.

Turner, James. Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985).

Watt, William Montgomery. Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions (London: Routledge, 1991).

Wilson, A.N. God’s Funeral: A Biography of Faith and Doubt in Western Civilization (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999).

World Christian Encyclopedia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001) For latest statistics, consult  the Database at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity  at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Ma. (website below). The Database is based on the World Christian Encyclopedia and on World Christian Trends. The data features Christianity, but also includes other major world traditions.


BBC’s site on Christianity.  Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (see above).

The ecumenical Christian Research Association of Australia can be found at  For the symposium on “Religion and Globalization” (2001)’  Information and Reflection on Selected Projects funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Site for the Evangelical journal Books and Culture. Peter Steinfels (New York Times) describes the journal as “provocative and open-minded.”

Site for Vatican correspondent John L. Allen's "All Things Catholic: Daily News and Updates".

5. Recent  Articles:

See entries for countries mentioned above.

List of other Religions

October 16, 2009.