As Christianity globalizes we need to rethink some things.

(1) We need to remember that many of our debates and subsequent doctrines were formed contextually. This means there are some things that may be irrelevant to Christians in other parts of the world. In fact, this is true of Christians who may live in North America and/or Europe, but who do not see themselves part of the culture that has emerged in these parts of the world.

(2) While it is good for Christians to know the history of our religion we must be careful to avoid equating the history of our religion with the history of so-called Western Civilization. For instance, Christianity has had quite a history in Africa (see the work of Thomas Oden and others), but the history of Christianity (and often historical theology) is framed as if everything went from Jerusalem, to Athens and Rome, to Paris and London, then to the United States. We acknowledge the contribution of north Africa, but that is it. If some Christians aren’t fascinated with German or French Christianity this is OK.

(3) Politics can be a hindrance to the unity of the global church. While many Christians in North America find democracy and free-market capitalism as highly compatible with Christianity we should be aware that some Christians in China may feel very, very different. Even within our country it is welcome that Christians continue to check their political systems against the teachings of Christ.

(4) As we throw around words like “heresy” let it not be our contextualized Christianity clashing against the contextualized Christianity of others without critically evaluating whether or not this is so.

(5) We should anticipate and welcome global theologies informed by other contexts. Christianity has often adopted the better angles of various cultures. There is much we can learn from how Christians elsewhere live their faith.

(6) As Christians whose relatives are Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim wrestle with how Christianity relates to these religions I think we should be cautious. Yes, syncretism can be bad, but let us not mistake modern Christianity with the Christianity that came from Judea in the 30’s CE. There will be things to avoid and things that are compatible. We can challenge our brothers and sisters if we think they compromise something essential, but make sure that is what we are doing.

(7) Finally, it may be time to rethink global missions. It is no longer the United States who is at the forefront and this may be OK. Similarly, if our countries send missionaries our direction, we should be careful not to resist them out of some sort of superiority complex. God may use them in ways that we did not foresee.

What would you add?