This concluding chapter argues that the twentieth century was indeed a period of extraordinary and sustained Christian growth in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. Yet it also witnessed a serious recession from Christian faith in most of Europe, Australasia, and parts of North America; the continuance and even intensification of serious obstacles to the progress of Christianity in the Islamic world and in most of India; and an accelerating and tragic exodus of Christians from those parts of West Asia and the Middle East that had once constituted the heartlands of Christianity. In some of its manifestations that have become increasingly prominent since the 1980s, the fabric of Christian doctrine and spirituality has been so fundamentally redesigned in the interests of the pursuit of individual material prosperity that the question becomes whether Christianity has converted indigenous religionists or whether indigenous religious and cultural perspectives have succeeded in converting Christianity. The Christian history of the twenty-first century may provide an answer. If the gravest challenge faced by Christianity in the twentieth century was the repeated subversion of Christian ethics by a series of tragic compromises between Christianity and ideologies of racial supremacy, the most serious challenge confronting the religion in the twenty-first century looks likely to be the preparedness of some sections of the church in both northern and southern hemispheres to accommodate the faith to ideologies of individual enrichment.
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