From Every Tribe and Nation

| January 14, 2015


Mark Noll. From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2014. 224 pp. $19.99.

A friend recently persuaded me to watch Fast and Furious 6.“Best movie in the franchise,” he assured me. Having missed installments 1–5 (in which people drive cars furiously), I had to trust him. The film had its moments, even if some dialogue seemed weak:

      Government official: “If we don't stop them, they'll destroy Western civilization.”

      Fast and Furious leader: “We'll need faster cars.”

This will be ludicrous or amusing, according to one's view of the machinery of a movie's genre. If the genre is “action,” subcategory “vehicular,” something has to get the cars started.

Mark Noll's recent work From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story faces a similar question. The monograph is memoir, not history, so it's not an account of the spread of Christianity but of a historian's discovery of its spread. As Noll notes, Christianity is “turning south.” In 1900, Christians constituted about one-third of the world population, as they do now. But in 1900 82% of Christians lived in Europe (including Russia) or…


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