Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Charismatics eye First Nations as the new missionary vanguard

American Indians have long had the attention of missionaries and evangelists, but more recently they have become the protagonists of numerous prophecies by charismatic Christians that the First Nation tribes and their reservations are the harbingers of revival in America, according to Charisma magazine (June). In 1975, Billy Graham prophesied that Native Americans hold the […]

Finland’s Lutheran legacy meets rising religious diversity, non-affiliation

Not unlike other Western countries, Finland has seen a decline of membership in mainline denominations along with a growth of unaffiliated people and religious diversification, Tuomas Martikainen (Migration Institute of Finland) reported at a conference on the religious and ethnic future of Europe in Turku on June 12–13, which RW attended. For historical reasons there […]

Japan’s fledgling pro-life movement finds secular and religious inspiration

Japan’s rapidly dropping birth rate, relatively high abortion rate, and low adoption rate have generated a small but growing pro-life movement in the country, receiving more support from evangelical Protestants rather than Catholics, writes Jason Morgan in the social science journal Society (June/July). Japan’s government has encouraged couples to have more children as the birth […]

Foreign Buddhist movements spread and change under pressure in China

As new Buddhist movements and groups, many from other Asian countries, spread throughout China, they are facing changes to their teachings and practices, even as they exert considerable change in Chinese society, according to a report in the New York Times (June 25). The newspaper focuses on the Taiwanese-based group Fo Guang Shan, which arrived […]

Succession leads to Hasidic Jewish success

Hasidic Judaism is in its “golden, even platinum age” thanks to the effective succession of leaders and the dynasties they have built in America, said sociologist Samuel Heilman in a talk he gave at the City University of New York Graduate Center in early May, which RW attended. Heilman was speaking about his new book […]

Rev. Moon’s disputed legacy and the divergent paths of Unificationism

Besides personal rivalries and disputes over the control of assets, divisions within the Unificationist movement after the death of its founder, Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012), are marked by the adoption of both different theologies and different views on the nature of the movement. This divergence was clearly expressed at a conference that took place on […]

Evangelical women bloggers bring gender, authority questions to surface

The democratic and free-wheeling world of the Christian blogosphere has elevated the role of evangelical women while posing a crisis of authority in churches and denominations, writes Tish Harrison Warren in Christianity Today magazine (April 27). The rise of the blogosphere has led to a new kind of Christian celebrity and authority—“the speaker and the […]

American Sikhism’s post-9/11 activism raises women’s status

The creation and growth of American Sikh organizations and activism following 9/11 has given women greater leadership roles and status within Sikhism in the U.S., writes Sangeeta Luthra in the journal Sikh Formations (online April 20). The targeting and misidentifying of Sikhs (usually men with turbans) as Islamic extremists since 9/11 and the attack on […]

Christian Zionism in global South sheds its end-times focus

Christian Zionism is shifting from its American base with its apocalyptic background to charismatic Christian churches in the global South that stress prosperity teachings, writes Daniel Hummel in First Things magazine (June/July). Christian Zionism started under the auspices of evangelicals in the U.S., who taught that Israel would be the stage of end times events […]

Both pluralism and militants gain ground in Iran’s seminaries

Young clerics in Iran’s seminaries and affiliated universities in the sacred city of Qom show a new pluralism and appreciation of non-Islamic disciplines, suggesting the emergence of a more “open and malleable religious life,” through there are also new signs of militancy in these schools, according to two studies. In the journal Sociology of Islam […]