“Religions die,” writes Philip Jenkins in The Lost History of Christianity. “Over the course of history, some religions vanish altogether, while others are reduced from great world faiths to a handful of adherents” (p. 1). While contemporary Christians might like to think that this statement applies to other religions—after all, who worships the Greek pantheon today?—the sobering truth is in history, Christianity has experienced reduction in the historic heartlands of its faith. As Jenkins shows, for a thousand years, Christianity was the dominant religion in the Middle East, North Africa, and western Asia, but now it is at best a minority faith in those lands, if it survives at all. The Lost History of Christianity is a narrative of its rise and fall, as well as a richly textured explanation of why this happened. A valuable, insightful book!
Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died (New York: HarperOne, 2008).
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