Christianity in the 21st century

Christianity in the 21st century is characterized by the pursuit of Church unity and the continued resistance to persecution, and secularization.

Catholic Church

Benedict XVI

With the election of Pope Benedict XVI, there was decentralized beatifications and reverted a decision of John Paul II regarding papal elections.[1] In 2007, he set a Church record by approving the beatification of 498 Spanish Martyrs.

Major lawsuits emerged in 2001 claiming that priests had sexually abused minors.[2]

Catholic-Orthodox dialogue

In June 2004, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I's visit to Rome afforded a meeting with Pope John Paul II, for conversations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and for taking part in the celebration for the feast day in St. Peter's Basilica.

There was the Patriarch's partial participation in the Eucharistic liturgy; full participation in the liturgy of the Word, joint proclamation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in Greek, and as the conclusion, the final Blessing imparted by both the Pope and the Patriarch.[3]

The declaration of Ravenna in 2007 re-stated the notion that the bishop of Rome is indeed the protos, although future discussions are to be held on the concrete ecclesiological exercise of papal primacy.


Since the election of Pope Francis in 2013, he has displayed a simpler and less formal approach to the office, choosing to reside in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the papal residence.[4] Following the resignation of Benedict, Francis became the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.[5]


In February 2001, the United Methodist Church organized the Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery. It is a Methodist-Benedictine residential monastery for women in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Postmodern Christianity has influenced the emerging church movement. Critics[6] allege, however, that this movement's understanding of faith has led many of its adherents outside the bounds of traditional Christianity.


21st century Timeline

  • 2001 – New Tribes Missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham are kidnapped in the Philippines by Muslim terrorist group; Baptist missionary Roni Bowers and her infant daughter are killed when a Peruvian Air Force jet fires on their small float-plane. Though severely wounded in both legs, missionary pilot Kevin Donaldson landed the burning plane on the Amazon River.
  • 2001 The Way of the Master founded
  • 2003 the Mission Province is established in Church of Sweden: new era for confessional Lutheranism in Scandinavia.
  • 2003 – Publication of Back To Jerusalem Called to Complete the Great Commission – Three Chinese Church Leaders with Paul Hattaway brings Chinese and Korean mission movement to forefront; Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros begins his television and internet mission to Muslims in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and western countries, resulting in thousands of conversions.
  • 2004 – Four Southern Baptist missionaries are killed by gunman in Iraq
  • 2005 Death of Pope John Paul II, election of Pope Benedict XVI
  • 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District rules intelligent design as "unscientific", banning the teaching in American science classes and thereby dealing a major blow to creationism.
  • 2006, July 18 World Methodist Council voted unanimously to adopt the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
  • 2006 Gospel of Judas a 2nd-century Gnostic account of Judas is shown on TV (discovered in the 1970s)
  • 2006 – Abdul Rahman, an Afghan Christian convert, is forced out of Afghanistan by local Muslim leaders and exiled to Italy. Missionary Vijay Kumar is publicly stoned by Hindu extremists for Christian preaching.
  • 2007 Kriol Bible completed, the first translation of the entire Bible into an Australian indigenous language
  • 2007 The Creation Museum opens in Kentucky USA.
  • 2007 – May 17 The Reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church after 80 years of a schism
  • 2008 Conservative Anglicans indicate that they plan to split from liberal Anglicans in "The Jerusalem Declaration"
  • 15 June 2014 - Antje Jackelén becoems the first female archbishop for the Church of Sweden.

See also


Further reading

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