Whenever I speak on global Christianity, I can count on getting at least one question along the lines of “So do you think Africans might start sending missionaries to convert Europe or America someday?” My response usually begins with the story of Sunday Adelaja, which is so radically counterintuitive for anyone brought up during the cold war as to sound like the start of a bad joke: “Did you hear about the African who tried to start a church in the Soviet Union?”
The reality, though, is anything but trivial. Though he has gone through some recent difficulties, Sunday Adelaja remains a startling personification of worldwide shifts in Christianity.
Philip Jenkins teaches at Penn State and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is the author of The Great and Holy War and The Many Faces of Christ.