The classically liberal British weekly, The Economist, is known for its authoritative, tightly written, analysis-infused news coverage. While I sometimes disagree with its editorial conclusions, I include myself among those who find The Economist a satisfying read.
But even the news outlets I favor the most are capable of sometimes publishing pieces that leave me wondering.
Such was the case with an Economist piece from earlier this month on the spread of Christian missionaries coming from the Global South (formerly known as the Third World) to North America and Europe — a 180-degree reversal from the historical pattern.
This reverse flow says a lot about the state of global Christianity. It speaks to the real possibility of the political and cultural West entering a truly post-Christian age. And it underscores how the Global South — Africa, Asia and Latin America — are likely to define Christianity’s future.
But why now? Why did The Economist bother to publish, both online and in print, a story about a phenomenon that’s been picking up speed for several decades and play it as if they’d uncovered a breaking trend?
Why would a publication as exemplary as The Economist publish a piece that reads as if its been sitting in the magazine’s ever-green file for years?