The Christian Society

By Stephen Neill

A masterful study of the history of Christianity as a social phenomenon.

ISBN: 9780718896065


In The Christian Society, one of the great Christian commentators of the twentieth century describes how the Church came to be a society. The past relationship between the missionary church and the pagan cultures it replaced is discussed alongside more recent delicate ecumenical relationships and the ongoing conflict between the church and atheism. Stephen Neill’s perceptiveness as a historian is shown in his masterful summary of the church’s story from the days of Jesus to his own time. Meanwhile, his experience as a missionary and ecumenist comes to the fore as he demonstrates how the unity of the church is integral to its place in modern society, and its power to create a society.

Throughout, his approach is empirical, and he considers ‘all who have claimed the Christian name, without making preliminary judgements as to their orthodoxy or their standing within the general body of Christian people.’ The result is a comprehensive depiction of Christianity as a social phenomenon that is as relevant today as when it was written.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 355

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Stephen Neill was a towering figure of twentieth-century global Christianity, serving as a missionary and later as bishop in India, before working for the World Council of Churches in Geneva. His many publications included A History of Christian Missions, The Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861-1961, and the never-completed History of Christianity in India.


General Introduction

1. Jesus and His Society
2. Growth and Persecution
3. The Church of the Empire
4. Gain and Loss
5. The Medieval Synthesis
6. Nationalism and Reform
7. The Expansion of the Western World
8. A Late Beginning
9. The Faith and the Great Religions
10. The Gospel and Primitive Peoples
11. The Growth of Indigenous Churches
12. The Disintegration of the West
13. The Christian Society and the Church


Index of Names
Index of Subjects


Endorsements and Reviews

In a real way this is a book of our time. For it combines a number of interests which have characterised our generation in a degree without precedent in church history. … It tells us whence the church has come and what are the roads on which today Christians hope to advance.
Conrad Bergendoff, Augustana College