Scholars of Christianity have struggled
to escape from the traditional obsessions of the Euro- American
churches, the world of the rich and powerful, to acquaint themselves
with the very different realities of Africa, with the world of the
poorest. Perhaps, now, we need to think of another set of unfamiliar
circumstances: that of the almost rich, almost powerful, and
BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA and CHINA are now among the top leading global economies, along with the U.S. and Japan. The term BRIC
refers to the fastest growing developing economies of Brazil, Russia,
India and China; and was coined by Goldman Sachs in 2001, who predicted
that by 2050 the combined economies of the BRICs could eclipse those of
the current richest countries of the world.
BRICS are on track to overtake developed economies in size by 2050.
By 2014 BRIC countries will contribute over half the world’s growth.
Let us think of the BRIC’s not in terms
of economic power, but in the issues they raise for global Christianity
and for prospects of mission. In each of the four nations, religion
plays a critical role in political debate. Just from the Christian
standpoint, the respected World Christian Database
already lists Brazil, Russia and China among the nations with the
world’s largest Christian populations (the U.S. heads the list).
However great their disparities, the
kinds of Christianity that are emerging and growing most successfully in
the BRIC nations have very distinct characteristics from what the
Euro-American world regards as familiar or mainstream.
Dr. Philip Jenkins presented these findings among other trends at ELS12. Other data from his session is available to ELS attendees only.