Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Christianity Has Had Tremendous Influence, But More Remains To Be Done.

Written by: on March 2, 2023

There is no doubt that Christianity has had a tremendous impact on different cultures and is the single most influential religion today. According to the World Data website, there are 2.2 billion Christians worldwide who are distributed between the dominant religious groups of Catholics, the Orthodox, Protestants, the Anglican community, and the Pentecostal movement.[1] Hollard Holland is an English historian and author who has written many books, both fiction and non-fiction. In his book Dominion, Hollard gives a historical account of the great impact of Christianity in the west and concludes that western culture is a product of Christianity.[2]

Hollard starts by focusing on the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, which was the climax of Jesus’s life where He gave His life as a ransom for mankind, that through His death on the cross, we receive our salvation. This happened in the roman empire, where hanging on a cross was the worst fate imaginable and was reserved for slaves. Hollard draws attention to the most amazing thing people should have come to believe is that this crucifixion victim, Jesus Christ, should be worshiped as a god. For the Romans, one felt tainted even by looking at the cross; for Jews, it was horrible, unimaginable, repellent, and utter madness even to imagine that the eternal God would have His son become fresh and then be tortured to death on a cross. Hollard says it took centuries, but eventually, a corpse became an icon of majesty.[3] Eventually, because of Jesus, Christians came to believe that God was closer to the weak than the mighty. Christianity began in paradox amidst cultures that stressed power, pride, honor, and strength; it stressed the weak and the suffering. But it produced what one Jewish scholar called “the most powerful of hegemonic cultural systems in the history of the world.”[4]

Holland explores the implications of this shocking conviction as they have reverberated throughout history. He concludes that the West remains utterly saturated by Christian assumptions. Hollard gives the historical events of how Christianity has influenced society and impacted different sectors of society, values, and culture. As Hollard demonstrates, our morals and ethics are not universal but the fruits of a distinctive civilization. Just like the high standards of morality and the rule of law can be traced to Christian values, Hollard also shows how other prevailing and disturbing issues have their roots in Christianity. According to him, Concepts such as secularism, liberalism, science, and homosexuality are deeply rooted in a Christian seedbed.

Holland Interestingly highlights the fact that the influence of Christianity was not just confined to the West, but it is global in its influence. He devotes a good portion of chapter 20 in the book to demonstrating the spectacular growth of Christianity in Africa. In 1900 about ten million Africans called themselves Christian. By 1984 the number was 250 million. (And today, it approaches 600 million.) The Christian gospel was attractive to this gigantic number of Africans and was the major factor in the undoing of Apartheid. “It was Christianity that had provided the colonized and the enslaved with their surest voice. The paradox was profound. No other conquerors, carving out empires for themselves, had done so as the servants of a man tortured to death on the orders of a colonial official.”[5] This particularly interested me as a Christian leader in the African context. Africa is reeling from poverty and oppression because of international, political, financial, and trade policies that work against the continent and poor leadership. While poverty has been blamed on Africans and their poor leadership, I believe there has been a conspiracy to keep Africa poor and continue exploiting its resources to satisfy the greed of the rich countries that control the world economy. My hope lies in Christianity, that just as Christianity is credited for the Western Renaissance, as Christianity spreads across Africa, we will emerge to take our rightful and respectable place in the world economy.

Hollard demonstrates the domain of Jesus Christ. The majesty and power of Jesus Christ have grown over the centuries to become the most powerful cultural force ever known to mankind. The Western culture has been shaped by His walking the earth, and Holland demonstrates this chapter after chapter. There is no doubt that this influence will continue, and I pray that the same force of Christianity will bring transformation in my Kenyan context and across Africa through the Church. Suppose the church as an institution would recognize the power of the Gospel and choose to actively change the environment instead of being a passive player in society. As I research the case for Holistic ministry and develop protocols for implementing holistic ministry in new vulnerable communities, Hollard’s documented influence of Christianity is an inspiration. I am persuaded that holistic ministry is the way to go for the Church in my context.

Hollard also contrasts Christianity with other religions; while they, too, have influenced other cultures in good measure, they pale compared to Christianity. No society is indeed contemplating how much Islamic culture to incorporate. Or how much Buddhism or Hinduism to adopt. Or how much Shintoism or Animism. But every nation is wrestling with what to incorporate into the culture created by Jesus Christ, Western culture. It is interesting how across the world, people will refer to you as either westernized (meaning civilized) or not. As a Christian leader, I see a great opportunity and challenge in recognizing the potential for igniting more positive change in the world. This will happen as we take responsibility to spread Christianity in fulfilling the Great Commission of our Master and Lord Jesus Christ.


[1] Source: Worlddata.info, retrieved on 03/02/2023. https://www.worlddata.info/religions/Christianity.php#google_vignette.

[2] Hollard, Tom. Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade The Word. (New York, NY. Basic Books, 2021).

[3] Ibid,….pg. 14.

[4] Hollard. Dominion. pg. 19.

[5] Hollard. Dominion. Loc. 8467 Kindle.

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

2 responses to “Christianity Has Had Tremendous Influence, But More Remains To Be Done.”

  1. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Mary, thank you for this post on Tom Holland’s book. I appreciate that you reference the author’s note of Christianity’s impact outside of the Western world, including Africa. Who are a few African church leaders or theological influencers that we can benefit from in the West?

  2. mm Mary Kamau says:

    Thank You, Roy, for your comments and question on African Church leaders or theological influencers. There are several notable Church leaders and theologians that I can point you to. Starting from Home in Kenya, I will only highlight two that are leaders in championing holistic ministry; the late Rev. John Gatu asked the Presbyterian churches in the West and missionaries to stop giving aid and allow the Kenyan church to be self-reliant. He is credited with starting a successful initiative called Jitengemee (Self-reliance) with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. The other leader is Rev. Titus Masika, a former high school teacher who initiated a program that spiritually and economically transformed an area (Yatta) that chronically depended on food aid for many years into a very productive area of reference. Other remarkable leaders, Dr. Allan Beosak and Rev. Desmond Tutu of South Africa were key lights in fighting Apartheid.

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