Facing West: American Evangelicals in an Age of World Christianity
In 1974 nearly 3,000 evangelicals from 150 nations met at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Amidst this cosmopolitan setting-and in front of the most important white evangelical leaders of the United States-members of the Latin American Theological Fraternity spoke out against the American Church. Fiery speeches by Ecuadorian Ren� Padilla and Peruvian Samuel Escobar revealed a global weariness with what they described as an American style of coldly efficient mission wedded to myopic, right-leaning politics. Their bold critiques electrified Christians from around the world.
The dramatic growth of Christianity around the world in the last century has shifted the balance of power within the faith away from the traditional strongholds of Europe and the United States to the Global South. To be sure, Western missionaries have carried religion abroad, but the line of influence has often run the other way. David R. Swartz demonstrates that evangelicals in the Global South spoke frankly to American evangelicals on matters of race, imperialism, theology, sexuality, and social justice. From the left, they have pushed for racial egalitarianism, ecumenism, and more substantial development efforts. From the right, they have advocated for a conservative sexual ethic. They forced American Christians to think more critically about their own assumptions.
The United States is just one node of a sprawling global network that includes Korea, India, Switzerland, the Philippines, Guatemala, Uganda, and Thailand. Telling stories of the diverse array of evangelicals around the world, Swartz shows that evangelical networks don't only extend outward, but back home from the ends of the earth.
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