News of the extended network of faculty, alumni, students, visiting researchers, and mission partners is regularly updated, and some of the big ideas or major events in Global Christianity are covered in the CGCM News.

Latin America and Early Modern Christianity

Rady-Roldán-Figueroa-92017-200x300The Latin American context played a central, although often neglected, role in the many Christian traditions emerging from the Early Modern era. This year, Rady Roldán-Figueroa, BuSTH professor and CGCM faculty affiliate, has explored this intersection between Latin America and European Christianity in the following works: C. Douglas Weaver and Rady Roldán-Figueroa, Exploring Christian Heritage: A Reader in History and Theology,  2nd rev. ed. (Baylor University Press, 2017), Rady Roldán-Figueroa, “Introduction: Race as a Category of Anthropological Difference in the Formative Stage of Peripheral Catholicism,” in Early Modern Theologies of Race in the Age of European Expansion, ed. Rady Roldán-Figueroa, special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Christianity 4/2 (2017), “Martin Luther in Latin America: From the Counter-Reformation Myth of Latin American Catholicism to Luther as Religious Caudillo,” in Martin Luther. A Christian between Reforms and Modernity (1517-2017), ed. Alberto Melloni, Federica Meloni, and Stefania de Nardis (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017). [In English, with German translation], “Martin Lutero in America Latina: Dal mito controriformistico del cattolicesimo latinoamericano a Lutero come caudillo religioso,” in Lutero: Un cristiano tra riforme e modernità (1517-2017), ed. Alberto Melloni, Federica Meloni, and Stefania de Nardis (Torino: Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, 2017), “Religious Literature and its Institutional Contexts: Prelude to the Study of Spanish Accounts of Christian Martyrdom in Tokugawa Japan,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History (Special Issue: “The Global Impact of the Reformations: Long-Term Influences and Contemporary Ramifications” / “Die Weltwirkungen der Reformation: Zeitgenössische und langfristige Folgen der religiösen Reformbewegungen des 16. Jahrhunderts”), 108 (2017).


1619, African Migration, and the Beginning of the “American Evolution”

By Tyler LenockerDecember 11th, 2017

heywood-e14423312037191619 marked the beginning of many firsts in English North America, including its first representative legislative assembly, the first official English Thanksgiving meal, and, important for the study of world Christianity, the first recorded arrival of Africans in Port Monroe, Virginia. The year also marked the arrival of the first significant wave of women to English North America, all being commemorated in a 400th year anniversary celebration of the “American Evolution” in 2019. This fall, Linda Haywood was interviewed on “Cross Currents” NPR Nantucket, centering on the arrival of Angolans to the new English colony, as well as her recent work on Njinga, the 17th century queen of Angola. A link to the interview can be found here:

Rev. Dr. Yap Kim Hao, First Asian Bishop of Methodist Church, Passes Away

By Tyler LenockerNovember 29th, 2017in Announcements, People

rev-dr-yap-kim-hao-e1406174081328-211x300On November 16th, Rev. Dr. Yap Kim Hao, former bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, passed away at 88 years of age. In 1968, Dr. Yap was elected as the first Asian bishop of the Methodist church. He was an active member of the BuSTH global Christianity community, and a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award given by the School of Theology. See this link in the United Methodist News Service for a description of Dr. Yap’s life and work.

Call for Papers: Global Perspectives on Peace, Conflict and Nineteenth-Century Christian Missions


Messengers of Peace? Global perspectives on peace, conflict and nineteenth-century Christian missions

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

12 July 2018


In a famous sermon launching the Missionary Society in 1795, Thomas Haweis proclaimed: ‘We meet under the conduct of the Prince of Peace; and unfurling the banner of his cross, desire to carry the glad tidings of his salvation to the distant lands sunk in heathen darkness, and covered with the shadow of death.’ Similar language was articulated in other places, suggesting that rhetorically, at least, peace language was prominent within the missionary world at the outset of the modern missionary enterprise. But what did such language amount to? How was peace understood, and how central and widespread were ideologies of peace and peacefulness within the global nineteenth-century missionary project? Were there distinctive missionary practices of peace, and what contingencies affected them?

Curiously, such questions have attracted little scholarly attention to date. The theme of peace has not been probed in detail, nor has there been any sustained analysis of nineteenth-century missionary peace ideologies more generally. This workshop aims to redress this situation, assessing missionary ideas and practices of the period in a global, comparative perspective.

While simplistic tropes of religion’s supposed propensity for violence ought rightly to be discarded, questions of peace must be understood in dynamic relation to violence, conflict and war – dimensions that have already received much greater attention. In the post-colonial context, for example, there has been widespread examination of the violence of colonial and imperial projects, and also, importantly, relationships between missions and empire. Burgeoning work on the history of humanitarianism has tended to emphasise moral ambivalence, including connections between violence, humanitarianism and empire.

The workshop will draw upon these strands of scholarship, but aims to move the research agenda forward, using peace as an analytical framework for examining nineteenth-century missionary Christianity and its contexts. I am seeking papers that will address the questions above, examining connections between missions and peace in a variety of settings, including a broad geographical scope. The focus is on the 1800s, especially up to the middle decades of the nineteenth century. The workshop will include papers that address the following sorts of themes:

  • Theological understandings of the peace of the gospel and the place of peace in missionary moral imaginaries
  • Relationships between peace and humanitarianism, and notions of civilisation and empire, within missionary discourse and practice
  • Analyses of diverse forms of missionary peace rhetoric and its effects in and beyond the missionary enterprise
  • Missionary ‘pacifism’ and opposition to war, and instances of peacemaking practice
  • Missionary views on violence and justifications of war and how these were aligned with, or juxtaposed against, claims to peace
  • Comparative perspectives between different missionary organisations, locations or personalities.

Paper proposals, including title, 150-word abstract, and 100-word bio, should be sent to Geoff Troughton ( by 11 December 2017.

Successful applicants will be required to send full draft papers of 5000-6000 words by 30 June 2018. All papers will be distributed to participants prior to the workshop.


17th Century African Christian Queen Njinga

Heywood Library of CongressEuropean powers expanding into southwest Africa in the 17th century confronted a cunning and capable leader in Queen Njinga. Linda Heywood has been uncovering the story of this complex figure, teasing out how she ruled and what role her faith played in her kingdom. Most recently, she gave lectures on the subject in London and Bristol, England, as she draws closer to the publication of Njinga, History, Memory, and Politics and Culture: Angola and the African Diaspora. This fall, Haywood will lecture on Queen Njinga at the Library of Congress on November 9th (see flyer here) and again on December 14th at the Mariners’ Museum. (the photo to the left is of Dr. Heywood at her recent lecture at the Library of Congress).

Call for Papers: Mission and Evangelism in a Secularizing World


“Mission and Evangelism in a Secularizing World”
2018 Evangelical Missiological Society Theme

Call for Papers

Secularization has typically been described as that process by which a society attempts to separate and marginalize religious values and institutions from the broader culture and public sphere. Secularization has been largely discussed in the context of the Enlightenment and modernization in Europe and countries of predominantly European descent populations. However, similar processes and influences are increasingly evident in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Numerous theoretical and practical questions arise from this phenomenon:

 Can the “religious” be really separated from the “secular” either conceptually or practically?
What are the implications of the answer to this question for evangelism, discipleship,
ecclesiology, and social action?
 Have missionaries inadvertently been agents of secularization, as is sometimes claimed? If so,
how should this be addressed today?
 How do the processes and impact of secularization differ in various cultural and regional
contexts, e.g. in Western democracies, in totalitarian societies, in industrializing and
modernizing societies?
 How might evangelism and mission methods be contextualized to respond to the influences of
 In what ways are various forms of religious fundamentalism a reaction to the forces of
secularization, and what are the implications of these responses for mission praxis?
 How have indigenous expressions of Christianity been influenced by or responded to
 How is secularism making evangelism, discipleship, and church planting more complex, and
what are some of the creative paths forward to respond meaningfully to these complexities?

Papers are solicited that address these and other related topics from missiological, theological,
historical, sociological, and/or regional perspectives.

To propose a paper, send a topic title and 200-300 word abstract to the Regional vice president Marcus
Dean . Proposal are to be submitted prior to Jan 15, 2018. Accepted
papers should be 4500-7000 words in length and use Chicago Turabian author-date citation format.
Selected papers presented at the regional meetings will be invited to be presented at the annual EMS
meeting in Dallas, October 12-14, 2018, leading to the possibility of being published as a chapter in the
EMS Annual Compendium for 2019.

2018 EMS conference chairs:
Craig Ott (, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Jay Moon (, Asbury Theological Seminary

Call for Papers: Religion and the 21st Century City: Openings and Closures



In Collaboration With


Call for Papers for an International Conference on


University of Ghana, 20th-22nd June, 2018



Faith communities and religious institutions have been pivotal in the growth of cities and urban communities in the world, usually as cradles around which large cities emerge. While there are concerns about the impacts of the growth of cities on religious life in the post-modern secular society, we are convinced that the continuous urbanization of societies and growth of cities, however, offers both opportunities and challenges to religious life and commitments to the sacred. Particularly, the growth of cities and urban spaces as well as the dynamics of city and/or urban life have provided bothopenings and closures to faiths and religious life with regard to: (i) the conceptualization and definition of religion and religious space; (ii) organization and role of religion and religious institutions; (iii) religious affiliations and identities; and (iv) religious communication and the interpretations of symbols. Consequently, in communities where the sacred still remains central to the lives of people, the phenomenon of religion and the religiosity of individuals in contemporary secular cities are worth paying attention to in both academic and public discourse, not least as results of the continuing growth of urban conurbations. This is undergirded by the default assumption that conceptualizations of, and understanding the phenomenon known as religion, religious communities and institutions are not insulated from, but are impacted, usually negatively, by the myriad developments taking place in contemporary secular cities. However, those default assumptions overlook a salient fact that the growth and constitution of cities and urban polities also contribute to understanding notions and salience of religion and the role of faith communities in myriad ways. It also remains true that, especially in such societies where religious beliefs remain widespread and central to the population, religions and religiosity of groups also try to negotiate or even constraint city life with regard to the social, economic, moral and religious developments in the secular city.

With the understanding, therefore, that the conceptualization, definition and salience of religion and religious life in both public and academic discourse are contingent on how religion is faring within time and space, the dialectical and complex relationships between religious faiths and contemporary secular cities (urban space) and how both respond to the relationship, is worth examining and reflecting on in academic discourse. This is especially so with regard to the implications of this relationship to the understanding and salience of religious faith in contemporary cities. This emphasis is crucial, as the main aim of the conference is to offer research and reflections into how city dwellers understand and negotiate the idea/notion of the sacred in light of the prospects offered and challenges posed by the city or urban life – how cities influence religion. It also delves into how religion and religious aspirations contribute to or constrains conflicting interests that have converged within the city – government interests, corporate interests, interest of groups of people and civil societies, and individual interests – and which further shape the phenomenon, definition/conceptualization, re-organization and relevance of religion in the 21st century city.

Researchers, academics, religious practitioners, and students are hereby invited to submit abstracts/papers related to, but not limited to, any one of the following themes or topics:

  • Urbanization, democracy and religion in the city – especially negotiating the conflicts between customary laws (traditional authority) and constitutionality
  • Religious pluralism and religious life in the city
  • Religion and the media in the city
  • Urbanization, religious innovations and manifestations in the city
  • Urbanization, cities and the construction of new religious identities
  • Religion, morality and human rights in the modern city
  • Faiths, urban ecology and environmental sustainability
  • Religion, transportation and mobility in the city
  • Religious history, monuments and the growth of cities
  • The secular city, religious radicalization and resistance
  • Cities, consumer societies and religious markets
  • Urban space, new religious movements and proselytization
  • Cities, sexuality, human rights and religious co-existence
  • Dynamics of the city, religion and gender
  • Youth, religion and the city
  • Migration, migrants and religious communities
  • The urban landscape, emerging markets and religious sensibilities
  • Urbanization, configurations and of the sacred and new religious movements (NRMs)
  • Religion, the urban space and the performing arts
  • The urban space, language use and religious communication (political correctness)

Proposal Submissions:

Abstracts, including five key words, and not exceeding three hundred (300) words in Microsoft Word 98 or newer, must be sent to with the subject “Religion and the City Conference 2018”. Author’s contact details (name, department, email address and phone number) should be provided on a separate page.


Deadlines for the submission of abstracts:                 January 31, 2018

Notification of acceptance:                                         February 20, 2018

Submission of draft papers:                                        June 1, 2018


Conference Fees:

Local participants:                               GHC 250

Local student participants:                  GHC 100

International participants:                   $ 200

Further information on payments and other practical matters will be communicated after the notification of acceptance of abstracts.


Important Notice:

Conference fees cover stationery, snacks and lunch only. Conference participants are responsible for their own arrangements for accommodation and transport.


However conference organizers recommend the Erata Hotel which is just a few minutes’ walk from the University. Also available is the University Guest House on the campus.

Religion and Democratization

Jeremy MenchikOver the last century, some Western scholars have argued that certain religious traditions–first Catholicism, and increasingly in the contemporary world, Islam–are inherently incompatible with democratic forms of government. In a recent essay published in The Immanent Frame, CGCM faculty associate Jeremy Menchik, remembered the work of political scientist Alfred Stepan. Stepan’s scholarship resisted moves to paint any religious tradition as necessarily undemocratic, highlighting through his diligent research ways in which religious communities creatively participate in democratic governance. Much of Stepan’s later scholarship centered on the religiously plural context of India and the predominantly Islamic context of Indonesia.

African Pentecostalism

Nimi Portrait for Vital TheologyThe study of African Pentecostalism has blossomed in the last decade. In his recent essay for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, “Pentecostalism in Africa,” CGCM faculty associate Nimi Wariboko surveys the current state of historical scholarship on Pentecostalism in different African contexts. He highlights the priorities of such scholarship and points toward important trajectories for future work in the field.