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Stephen C. Johnson is Dean, Honors College, at Abilene Christian University. Jason M. Morris is Associate Dean, Honors College, at Abilene Christian University. Kristina M. Davis is Assistant Professor of Honors Studies and Communication at Abilene Christian University. Jeffrey O. Haseltine is Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Services, at Abilene Christian University.

Many Christian colleges and universities in the United States have a global-themed mission that urges the institution not only to engage local and regional communities, but also to make an impact globally. For instance, at Abilene Christian University our mission is “to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.”1 This idea is expanded in our twenty-first-century vision,

which charges us to help students “think critically, globally, and missionally.”2 Many other schools have parallel aims. Students at Eastern Mennonite University are being prepared to “serve and lead in a global context.”3 The mission statement at Wheaton College also aims globally, calling that school to “help build the church and improve society worldwide by promoting the development of whole and effective Christians through excellence in programs of Christian higher education.”4 These and similar wordings of the world-wide challenge that much of Christian higher education has embraced are rooted in the Christian ethos of being salt and light to a world that Christians see as vulnerable and broken.

Those considering this characterization of the world, though, and Christian higher education’s possible role in impacting that world, must consider the broader context. Today we find fewer geographical regions where clear lines of demarcation exist between Christian and non-Christian. It also proves difficult to assess the impact that Christians spreading the word have had in locations dominated by other religions. In fact, both the impact of mission-minded world travelers and the religious affiliations of the locals among whom they labor sometimes elude simple identification. National and regional political upheavals, expansive social changes that span borders and oceans, and catastrophes both natural and manmade continually reshape both the landscape of religion and the work of agents of change. The world of 2013 in which Christian colleges and universities would seek to have a positive influence does not stand quietly as a static lump of granite which we can sculpt at the usual languid pace of U.S. higher education innovation. Rather it clamors around us and past us as a fast-moving train that is headed someplace—many places simultaneously—without pausing for us to get on board.5

The purpose of this essay is to provide a brief introduction to a few books and articles that can help Christian colleges and universities strengthen their understanding both of the context of world Christianity and of current practice regarding Christian higher education initiatives abroad. From this vantage point, we suggest a “de-centered” philosophy of engagement that is locally derived, not dictated by our own Western heritage and history of colonial missionary endeavors. As our institutions pursue the types of missions identified above, we must be on the lookout for any help we can find in answering important questions such as these: 1) What does the current landscape of global Christianity look like? 2) What are some trends in global Christian higher education? 3) Might U.S. Christian higher education embrace a clearly defined philosophy that nurtures a more symbiotic, less Western-dominant relationship between U.S. institutions and the larger world? 4) How can we best provide opportunities within our pedagogy for U.S.-based students to engage—and be engaged by—a diverse, interconnected, and complex world as globally competent Christians? This review essay points to several recent articles and books, which offer background knowledge, theoretical perspective, and review of practices that can help us explore these important questions.

Two Tools for Surveying the Landscape of Global Christianity

In Introducing World Christianity, editor Charles E. Farhadian convenes a wide range of expert contributors to provide us with a succinct and highly documented look at World Christianity as it has developed historically throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific. Farhadian aims to move us from a simplistic understanding of Christianity as a Western religion that was exported via colonialism to the non-Western world and toward a deeper understanding of Christianity as widespread and indigenous, in some cases predating the religions that more recently have come to be linked intrinsically with distinct regions. The collection uncovers the

social, cultural, and political changes afoot as a result of Christian presence … [focusing on] late modernity, which witnessed the rise of nation-states, intensification of globalization, increase of the influence of science and technology, and the proliferation of mass media.6

Along with historical analyses of the development of Christianity in particular regions, Introducing World Christianity contributors address the societal impact of Christianity around the modern world. While Christian higher education institutions that are seeking an identity and a role in cultures beyond the U.S. obviously would do well to study anew the history of Christianity in their regions of interest, it is perhaps these descriptions of more recent Christian social activism in those places that will provide immediately applicable food for thought.

The chapter by Heather Sharkey on Middle Eastern and North African Christianity (strongholds of Islam), for example, while not downplaying the challenges faced by Christians there, describes local Christian involvement in areas such as partnerships with international, non-faith-based philanthropies, procurement of grants for agricultural development and job-training programs, public library projects, and micro-credit lending programs.7 Similarly, Samuel Escobar notes in his chapter that Catholics and Protestants are cooperating in Latin America in “critical areas of life where the state is insufficient or unwilling to help people in need, [where] Christian compassion expressed in projects of service is frequently the only resource for the poor classes.”8 In particular, he mentions “pastoral work in prisons, disaster relief, work with street children, and defense of human rights in several countries.”9

The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There by Douglas Jacobsen is a more straightforward and extensive exploration of the roughly one third of the world’s population who are Christians. In addition to providing well-developed historical background and current data, Jacobsen looks through the lens of theology:

The dynamic quality of Jesus’s life and message—its probing open-endedness—has been a boon to the global spread of Christianity. Jesus taught by using parables, paradoxical sayings, and symbolic actions, and the history of Christianity is largely the story of how people and groups in many different cultures have come to their own varied conclusions about what those words and actions mean for them…. In particular, Christians in cultures that have only recently encountered Christianity can see themselves as having equal access to Jesus and an equal right to interpret the words of Jesus in ways that make sense in their own unique circumstances. 10

Those interpretations might not always be what U.S. Christians might expect (or find comfortable). For example, while noting the well-documented growth of Christianity in Africa during the twentieth century—from 7 percent to more than 50 percent—Jacobsen suggests that, for many, the break from culturally-infused beliefs and practices involving traditional healers, tribal rituals, “evil spirits, disgruntled ancestors, and witches” has been far from clean. Those who read only bare statistics will severely underestimate the constancy of traditional African religion despite the influx of Christian practice.11

Some of the recent change chronicled by Jacobsen has been driven by extraordinary events, such as the exodus of Christians from Iraq directly due to a weakened infrastructure (resulting in less police protection for this minority group) that has followed from the period of U.S. 12 Other change, such as the growth of Christianity in China (to around 5 percent of the population), has a more general impetus, following along in the wake of modernization. Jacobsen describes some of the internal forces that have given rise to this growth in China:

University education is booming, and young adults in particular are searching for meaning. For them, the future seems both exhilaratingly open, but also frighteningly unknown. In this changing environment, Christianity offers both a sense of belonging (because the church can become a new community for those who feel ‘lost’ socially or geographically) and a moral point of reference in a world where so many other behavioral guidelines have been swept away.13

Both Introducing World Christianity and The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There are excellently-written, highly-accessible books that will serve U.S. Christian higher education institutions well as initial resource materials for getting an up-to-date view of the landscape and context of world Christianity. Put succinctly, the Christianity we are finding “out there” as we pursue study abroad contacts, connections with local churches, and opportunities for broader engagement, is a “genuine world Christianity,” according to Hefner: “A world Christianity is a faith no longer overwhelmingly concentrated in the West, but one rooted socially and demographically in the global South.”14

Trends in Global Christian Higher Education

Sociologists in the middle of the twentieth century had little trust in the idea of religious institutions. In fact they believed that they were increasingly on the decline. They believed this was particularly true of religious higher education institutions: where enlightened secularism had begun to take over educational institutions, “the future of small-town Protestant colleges committed to orthodoxy is bleak indeed.”15 However, as the twentieth century ended and the twenty-first began, those same sociologists were forced to concede how wrong they had been as the number of Christian higher education institutions across the world expanded. As Peter Berger admitted later in his career, “The world today, with some exceptions … is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places, more so than ever.”16 And, like the spread of religion, these institutions are popping up all over the world with a vengeance, especially in the southern hemisphere.

The most important recent trend in Christian higher education is the privatization of funding. The most recent increase has been in “Protestant institutions around the globe started by Protestant denominations that were never state-sponsored religions,” such as Adventists, Methodists and Evangelicals.17 Of the fifty institutions in Africa that Glanzer, Carpenter, and Lantinga measured in their 2011 article, all were privately funded. In Asia, all of the institutions (except for those in India) were privately funded. The only area of the world where Christian higher education is decreasing is Western Europe, where “both the secularization of these states and the limitations placed upon private higher education by the state” have changed the landscape for private institutions.18

Privatization changes higher education in important, and not always positive, ways. As Joel Carpenter explains in his article, “New Christian Universities and the Conversion of Cultures,” this trend leads to specific changes in the values of these institutions. First, it leads to little advanced research. “Private institutions worldwide rely on scholars from other institutions to develop ideas; [then] they hire some curriculum writers to provide classroom materials.”19 These institutions are “very light on libraries, labs, cultural offerings, community service and research. Often they leave all these expensive things to the research institutions and see higher education less as a public good and more of a private commodity.”20 This commodification of knowledge removes creativity and ingenuity from the equation, Carpenter argues, and focuses more on professional degrees and certification programs. These institutions also tend to shy away from programs that require internships or additional levels of administration, such as social work, nursing, or teacher education. Unfortunately, that means that these programs are not necessarily contributing to systemic changes within their host communities—they simply train entry-level workers. As Carpenter concludes, “So these institutions feed off the larger system of creating knowledge, but do not feed back into it.”21

The second major trend furthered along by privatization is the use of part-time or adjunct faculty. In Latin America, these professors are often referred to as “taxicab professors” who must work local jobs outside the institution to make a livable salary. These institutions frequently separate the professor’s job description into its most simplistic pieces, and give all of the tasks outside of the classroom to administrators (frequently employed in the United States), leaving professors with no responsibilities outside the classroom.22 Carpenter has found that the longer an institution continues to exist, the more likely it is to use full-time faculty; however, this is not a trend that has caught on across Africa and Asia.23

Finally, this trend toward privatization has also changed the mission of many institutions of higher education in their foreign settings. As Carpenter notes: “The aims are reduced to this: equip the student with the knowledge and skills required to be certified into a particular line of work. Doing anything more, claim its advocates, costs too much, and is irrelevant to the main mission.”24 This change in value/mission of the institution is curious to us. The current model seems to take Western curriculum and Western knowledge and feed it through the usual chain to these students, but we are perhaps less inclined, in these non-U.S. settings (as compared with our home campuses), to listen to their ideas or their concerns. We would advocate instead for a more transactional model, where Western researchers begin a conversation with local students and professors to create a model that shares knowledge between both parties and enhances knowledge on both sides. There is certainly room where we can begin to see changes in the current model. Other researchers have called for related changes in these trends. Nick Lantinga, for example, in his article “Global Christian Higher Education: Audacious, Risky, Diverse,” recommends that institutions disregard the financial advantages of professional programs and focus on the audacity of the love of Jesus to change the model for international education.25 We would echo that call. We would argue that this call can go one step further. It is important for Western Christian institutions to allow the audacity of love to change us, to change the way that we view the world, and then to change the way our institutions operate abroad.

Opportunities for U.S. Christian Higher Education

This essay has named some resources helpful in understanding the landscape of global Christianity and trends in global Christian higher education. One of the shifts in the landscape of global Christianity is the decline of Christianity in the West. Sometimes this is described in terms of a shift in the church’s social location from centers of cultural power to the margins of society. Many describe European culture as post-Christian, and while there are clear differences between European and American culture, there is good evidence that American culture is increasingly post-Christian. The assumption that American culture is “Christian” is no longer tenable (if it ever was).

This de-centering of Christianity in the West is mirrored by the rise of Christianity in other parts of the world, particularly in the global South.26 Interestingly, the global South has long consisted of the largest concentrations of global marginalization—possessing little political or economic power. In other words, the renewal of global Christianity is occurring in precisely those places of least political power on the world’s stage, rising up “from the bottom,” as it were.

Reaction from Western Christianity sometimes consists of attempts to regain Western culture for Christ in a culture wars mentality and extend the Christian worldview across the globe, subsequently reasserting the primacy of Western Christianity. Some U.S. institutions of Christian higher education mirror this reaction in their global aspirations. We would like to propose that the de-centering of Western Christianity presents another possibility. Rather than resist the de-centering of Western Christianity, U.S. Christian higher education can embrace this de-centering in order (1) to emerge more fully from the tangled history of Christianity and Western culture that produced a kind of colonialism (following Farhadian’s suggestions), (2) to deepen appreciation for modes of knowing and sense-making that are non-Western, and (3) to claim these opportunities from within the narrative arc of the Christian story.

First, the global scope of most institutions of Christian higher education in the United States is connected to a tangled history of Christianity and Western culture that makes certain assumptions, implicitly or explicitly, about Western Christianity and its relationship to the rest of the world. In this history, Christian mission consisted of the sending of Western missionaries to other parts of the world to spread the Gospel and establish Christian churches. In most instances, the Gospel message was proclaimed across the world in distinctly Western categories and constructs, and the churches established were remarkably similar in constitution and practice to Western churches. Some institutions of Christian higher education conceived of their mission similarly, and remnants of this history still linger in the institutional ethos of Christian higher education. As a result, the aim to educate globally from a Christian worldview participated in a form of colonialism that, in effect, extended Western culture as Christian culture.

U.S. Christian higher education has the opportunity to become more critically self-aware about the history of colonialism in the West and how Christianity has participated in it. Institutions of Christian higher education can engage in a confessional moment, the beginning place of real transformation. As many U.S. Christian higher education institutions critically engage and acknowledge scholarship that names Western Christianity’s participation in Western colonialism, the opportunity exists to allow this scholarship to transform institutional mission and practice.

Second, shifts in global Christianity from the West to the South represent an opportunity for U.S. Christian higher education to reflect again on what we mean by “Christian” higher education. One way of articulating Christian higher education is participation in the act of meaning making reflected within the narrative of Scripture and the broad history of the Christian tradition. That is to say that the emphasis in this approach to Christian higher education is on the formation of individuals and communities of meaning making around the central questions raised by the story of Scripture and reflected in the testimony regarding Jesus: Who is God? Who are human beings? What is the created world? How are these things interrelated? Within the story of Scripture and the history of Christian tradition, these questions are taken up again and again, given new circumstances and new cultural contexts.

Unpacking each of these questions more fully is well beyond the scope of this essay. However, it is enough to note that (a) the wholeness, peace, flourishing (shalom) of the created ones and the created order reflected in the origins of the biblical story are the ends toward which the story points; and (b) the act of self-emptying love for the sake of the other, demonstrated in the story of Jesus, is the means to restoring wholeness, peace, and flourishing.

Christian higher education, in this sense, cultivates a habitus of thinking, being, and acting consistent with these ends. Such a habitus does not export fixed conclusions and meanings from one culture into another, but participates in an act of meaning making from within a particular cultural context. In other words, U.S. institutions of Christian higher education could choose to de-center themselves to enter into very particular contexts of global marginalization. Eschewing the impulse to arrive in these contexts as those who possess means or knowledge to give to the host culture, U.S. students and faculty would inhabit the host culture as guest, dependent upon the inherent logic, wisdom, meaning, and value of the host culture.

De-centering Western Christianity and U.S. institutions of Christian higher education relocates meaning and knowing within the particularity of a given context. The move to deeply contextual learning within a host culture requires engagement in the social, economic, political, and religious forms of lived experience in an intensely interdisciplinary way so that students become learners not only in a host culture but of a host culture.

Becoming students not only in a host culture, but of a host culture requires a set of critical thinking skills that forms students to attend to the process of mean- ing making within a given cultural context. The International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IAPCHE) has signaled this important turn. Their publication Christian Higher Education in the Global Context includes multiple essays dealing with the enculturation of the Gospel and contextualization.27 One of the essays that appears in the proceedings, written by Jeffrey Bouman and Lauren Colyn, was particularly useful in its practicality; it is entitled, “Ways that the Pedagogy and Philosophy of Service-Learning can be 28 This essay focuses on research designed to integrate service-learning effectively into Calvin College’s study abroad offerings.

Finally, a move to situate learning in the margins of global political and economic power takes its cue from the story of Jesus and of earliest Christians, a story that began outside traditional centers of social, economic, and political power. In other words, the social location of the Christian movement in its earliest days was more akin to the social location of an emerging de-centered Christianity in the south. The story told by earliest Christians about Jesus of Nazareth narrated his birth from the margins, described his actions for the sake of those on the margins, and reported his teachings as deeply concerned for those on the margins. The climax of the story told by early Christians was the self-emptying act of love as Jesus offered his life for the sake of the world. This act of self-emptying love demonstrated a greater form of power than that exercised in violence, coercion, or manipulation.

U.S. institutions of Christian higher education have the opportunity to embrace the shifts occurring in global Christianity by making a de-centering move from within the Christian story. As they do so, these institutions have the opportunity to discover again their primary identity and mission—namely, to educate and form students who participate in the Christian narrative and offer their own lives for the sake of the world.

As an illustration of the tensions that would result from a move of U.S. Christian higher education institutions to de-center themselves in relation to non-Western institutions of Christian higher education, we note the conflict between the model of a broad, liberal arts education in the Western tradition and the trend (mentioned above) toward more focused vocational training that has emerged as a result of privatization and the scarcity of resources related to that privatization. From the perspective of U.S. Christian higher education, we may be tempted to devalue the models of education emerging in other parts of the world and prescribe our own model as a solution, thus perpetuating a form of cultural hegemony. We might be better served (or serve better) to understand the global contexts and dynamics which give rise to such other models of education, recognizing not only the limitations but also the opportunities provided by them. It may be that while U.S. Christian higher education offers some guidance to our global partners toward a model of liberal arts education, we also learn from our global partners the value of other models as well. We should at least live within the tension.

Preparing Students

A significant question faced by U.S Christian institutions of higher education is: How can we best provide opportunities within our pedagogy for U.S.-based students to engage—and be engaged by—a diverse, interconnected, and complex world as globally competent Christians? Faith-based institutions of higher education are keenly aware of their responsibility to provide the best preparation possible during the critical time that students spend under their care. As mentioned earlier, a global, Christ-centered mission is deeply rooted in our institutional DNA. In addition, many students attend our campuses specifically to be a part of this Christian mission. They are seeking out our campuses because they want to utilize their gifts, talents, and knowledge to engage the world and make a contribution; many do not want to wait until graduation to engage. At ACU, we recently celebrated the accomplishments of two undergraduate students who helped to create the Red Thread Movement. This movement is designed to fight sex trafficking in Nepal. Their idea centered around selling red bracelets to students on the ACU campus. Since the movement began in 2009, it has spread to 75 college campuses across the United States. The funds raised support a safe house for trafficking victims in Nepal. This example helps to illustrate that many current college students, as part of the Millennial generation, have a global perspective and desire to serve and make a meaningful impact in the world.29 We are sure that other Christian institution campuses are full of similar examples of passionate students who want to make a difference.

Higher education institutions take a variety of educational approaches in order to launch thoughtful, action-oriented students into a world that desperately needs their individual and collective contributions. Some institutions work diligently to “internationalize” their home campus by intentionally creating curricular and co-curricular experiences that will help to build cultural competence within their student body. These efforts take a variety of different shapes and forms. At ACU, a “cultural competency” requirement recently has been considered as part of our general education requirements. Our efforts explored foreign language study, living with an international student, study abroad, mission-based travel, and a variety of other options. Our goal was, as stated in our Twenty-First Century Vision, to help students think “critically, globally, and missionally.”

Most institutions will also put a heavy emphasis on creating outstanding experiential learning opportunities beyond their home campuses through study abroad opportunities. Study abroad participation has increased nationally, and most faith-based institutions utilize this tool not only as a mechanism to prepare students to engage in a global economy, but more holistically, and many times very specifically, to impact students’ spiritual development.30 For example, the Council for Christian Colleges and University’s (CCCU) Best Semester Program encourages students to “Explore the world outside your college classroom! Live an adventure in new community! Learn to relate your faith with your passions!” Both campus-based approaches to “internationalize” and provide off campus/study abroad experiences are designed to cause students to look beyond the simple, familiar, and parochial, to the complex, unfamiliar, and global. We must applaud our campuses for these efforts and find ways further to encourage faith-based schools to pursue that admirable and worthy goal of preparing students to engage a diverse, interconnected world as globally competent Christians.

The book Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience provides significant insight into the role faith-based institutions have in producing students who will thoughtfully engage the world by bringing a Christian worldview infused within their gifts and abilities.31 The editors have collected a robust set of essays from contextual/experiential learning thought leaders throughout the United States. The contributors represent a variety of faith-based institutions of higher learning, as well as a variety of study abroad locations and models. In the introduction, Cynthia Smedley begins to get at the importance of the challenge before us, stating, “The globalization of American Christianity presents new challenges for faith-based higher education. In an increasingly connected and complex world, training a generation of leaders as actors on the world stage is paramount.”32 The book is divided into four sections; parts II, III, and IV are most relevant to our question. These sections are respectively titled, “Inward Journey to Outward Living: Community Teacher,” “Coming Face to Face with the Social Other: Bridging Intercommunal Divides,” and “The Year of the Lord’s Good Favor: Cultivating Solidarity with the Global Poor.” Most of the chapters tell the story of specific experiences that intuitions are creating to form and shape their student participants. Two of these programs will be highlighted in the paragraphs that follow.

According to Laura Montgomery and Mary Docter, the Westmont in Mexico Program (WIM) is a program in Queretaro, Mexico that is designed to:

cultivate “world Christians”: individuals who are able to encounter God in new contexts, to participate in the worldwide Christian church, to enjoy the rich diversity of God’s creation, and to share their faith graciously with people of other languages and cultures. A critical feature of this process is the development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to build relationships of mutual respect across cultural boundaries.33

The program designers accomplish these goals in a three-semester model. The first semester of learning takes place on the home campus and focuses on orienting students “by preparing them intellectually, culturally, emotionally, and spiritually.”34 The next semester is spent in context in Mexico. The authors state:

Here students are challenged to use their skills to become acquainted with, and love “the other,” to experience another Christian tradition that is theologically and culturally different from the one in which most of them have been reared, and to consider the ways in which being in this unfamiliar context can deepen their understanding and practice of their faith.35

Upon returning to campus, participants are given the opportunity to process their experience with each other. This reflective focus allows students to consider the ways in which they have grown and changed; they are also encouraged to think about ways they can enrich the campus community.

Richard Slimbach, a faculty member who contributed to the design of another program highlighted in Transformations, wrote about the Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership at Azusa Pacific University. This program provides master’s level students with real-world experience working with the world’s urban poor. It also strives to narrow the distance between its participants and “the other” by creating opportunities for significant and meaningful interaction. This entirely field-based master’s program has been designed so that as students begin the degree program, they move to megacities in the global South and live in or very near poverty-stricken slums of Channai (India), Manila (Philippines), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), or other places identified by the program directors.36

Slimbach states:

By forming communities of solidarity and service with forgotten places, an emergent generation of Christian cosmopolitans is seeking to build relational bridges between the world of privilege and the world of poverty, allowing others’ experience to become their experience.37

One of the key premises on which the program is built is that “insight and understanding is revealed, not through physical distance and emotional objectivity, but by sharing in a significant way the experience of being marginalized, un-resourced, and perhaps even mistreated—i.e., through solidarity.”38 Perhaps most impressive about this innovative degree are the six core “theological-pedagogical values” that undergird the program.39 These include self-limitation (vs. power preservation), embodiment (vs. detachment), involvement (vs. distance), collaboration (vs. independence/ exclusion), responsibility (vs. passivity), and redemption (vs. domestication). After completing this program, students are well equipped for careers serving in some of the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the world; moreover, most likely they themselves are transformed. The pedagogical themes that emerge from these two program descriptions, and others found in Transformations, clearly align with our notion of moving to deeply contextual learning within a host culture so that students become learners not only in a host culture but of a host culture.


In higher education, we have talked about the shift toward post-enlightenment and post-modernity. As Christian higher education institutions, however, we generally have not allowed this changing perspective to inform our practices related to taking Western Christian higher education throughout the (non-Western) world. But by recognizing and embracing the de-centering of Western Christianity, we may find ourselves in a new place, both literally and figuratively. We may discover opportunities for new ways of thinking about our engagement with other cultures and find ourselves creating new models of purpose that reflect both the original locus of Christianity—outside of the world’s power centers—and the simplicity of Jesus’ approach: He came and lived among us.

Cite this article
Stephen C. Johnson, Jason M. Morris, Kristina M. Davis and Jeffrey O. Haseltine, “Global Christianity: Examining the Role of Christian Higher Education in the Changing Landscape— A Review Essay”, Christian Scholar’s Review, 42:4 , 421-433


  1. “Our Mission,” Abilene Christian University, (accessed April 11, 2013).
  2. “ACU’s 21st Century Vision,” Abilene Christian University, (accessed April 11, 2013).
  3. “EMU Mission Statement,” Eastern Mennonite University, (accessed April 11, 2013).
  4. “Mission,” Wheaton College, (accessed April 11, 2013).
  5. Douglas G. Jacobsen, The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), xiii.
  6. Charles E. Farhadian, ed., Introducing World Christianity (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 3.
  7. Heather J. Sharkey, “Middle Eastern and North American Christianity: Persisting in the Lands of Islam,” in Introducing World Christianity, ed. Charles E. Farhadian (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 17-18.
  8. Samuel Escobar, “Christianity in Latin America: Changing Churches in a Changing Continent,” in Introducing World Christianity, ed. Charles E. Farhadian (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 181.
  9. Escobar, “Christianity in Latin America,” 181.
  10. Jacobsen, World’s Christians, 3.
  11. Ibid., 166-167.
  12. Ibid., 76-77.
  13. Ibid., 198.
  14. Hefner, foreword, ix.
  15. Christopher Jencks and David Riesman, The Academic Revolution (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002), 333.
  16. Peter L. Berger, ed., The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 2.
  17. Perry L. Glanzer, Joel A. Carpenter, and Nick Lantinga, “Looking for God in the University: Examining Trends in Christian Higher Education,” Higher Education 61 (2011): 732.
  18. Ibid., 732.
  19. Joel A. Carpenter, “New Christian Universities and the Conversion of Cultures,” Evangelical Review of Theology 36 (2012): 4.
  20. Glanzer, Carpenter, and Lantinga, “Looking for God,” 732.
  21. Carpenter, “New Christian Universities,” 4.
  22. Ibid., 4.
  23. Ibid., 6.
  24. Ibid., 4.
  25. Nick Lantinga, “Global Christian Higher Education: Audacious, Risky, Diverse,” Contact Newsletter of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education 22 (2011): Academic Insert, 2-6.
  26. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  27. Nick Lantinga, ed., Proceedings from the IAPCHE Conference ’06: Christian Higher Education in the Global Context: Implications for Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Administration (Sioux City, IA: Dordt College Press, 2008).
  28. Jeffrey P. Bouman and Lauren Colyn, “Ways that Pedagogy and Philosophy of Service- Learning can be Useful in Teaching Students in International Contexts,” in Proceedings from the IAPCHE Conference ’06: Christian Higher Education in the Global Context: Implications for Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Administration, ed. Nick Lantinga (Sioux City, IA: Dordt College Press, 2008), 295-309.
  29. Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising: The Next Generation (New York: Vintage Books, 2009).
  30. Institute of International Education, “Top 25 Destinations of U.S. Study Abroad Students, 2009/10 -2010/11,” Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange,, 2012.
  31. Ronald J. Morgan and Cynthia T. Smedley, eds., Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience (Abilene: Abilene Christian University Press, 2010).
  32. Cynthia T. Smedley, Introduction to Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience, eds. Ronald J. Morgan and Cynthia T. Smedley (Abilene: Abilene Christian University Press, 2010), 21.
  33. Laura Montgomery and Maria Docter, “With Open Eyes: Cultivating World Christians through Intercultural Awareness,” in Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience, eds. Ronald J. Morgan and Cynthia T. Smedley (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2010), 118.
  34. Ibid., 120.
  35. Ibid., 124.
  36. Richard Slimbach, “Learning from Slums: Study and Service in Solidarity with the World’s Urban Poor,” in Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience, eds. Ronald J. Morgan & Cynthia T. Smedley (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2010), 185-202.
  37. Ibid., 187.
  38. Ibid., 194.
  39. Ibid., 194-195.

Stephen C. Johnson

Abilene Christian University
Stephen C. Johnson is Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Abilene Christian University.

Jason M. Morris

Abilene Christian University
Jason M. Morris is Dean of Honors College and Director of the Master's Program in Higher Education at Abilene Christian University.

Kristina M. Davis

Abilene Christian University
Kristina M. Davis is Director of Communications and Content Strategy at Hardin-Simmons University.

Jeffrey O. Haseltine

Abilene Christian University
The late Jeffrey O. Haseltine was Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Abilene Christian University.