What does Christianity’s explosive growth in Africa mean for the church and the world?


with filmmaker/scholar Dr. James Ault

5:30 PM, Thursday, October 22, 2015

International Theological Seminary

Chapel, 3225 Tyler Ave, El Monte, CA 91731

Come join conversations to help build the world church (and the world!) of the 21st century!

All are welcome!

Africa Rising

About the Director/Producer

James Ault is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author and scholar educated at Harvard and Brandeis (Ph.D. in Sociology). He began his career as a student of African politics and cultures, living and working in Zambia. His first film, Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, an intimate portrait of a Jerry-Falwell inspired church in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the 1980s, won a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS, on Channel 4 in the UK, in Europe and around the world. His book about that project, Spirit and Flesh (Knopf 2004) was named one of the 5 best nonfiction books of the year, and called “easily the best account of the inner workings of a fundamentalist community that has ever been written” by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale Divinity School).

He is currently writing a book on this African Christianity film project tentatively titled In the Feet of African Christians: Exploring Christianity’s Explosive Growth in Africa. Its e-book edition will have links to project video embedded in its text, including dramatic stories not appearing in the films themselves, as well as additional materials on characters and communities viewers meet in them.


“These two films . . . offer a remarkable degree of insight into the way the Christian faith in developing in Africa, perhaps its most critical contemporary theatre. They show the range of religious activity, tradition and innovation; but they also indicate determining conditions and prevailing directions. The representative African commentators are of the highest quality.

I have watched these films with audiences of specialist scholars, of students at various levels and of general public. In every case the effect has been striking, powerful and clarifying. These films pack more information and present it more tellingly than would vast areas of print. Their potential for good is immense.”

Andrew F. Walls, Founding Director, Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh, & of the Journal of Religion in Africa

“Magnificent and often really moving. . . I know of no comparable material that raises so many of the critical issues in contemporary African Christianity . . . By far the most useful aspect is that all these ideas and beliefs – which Americans might find strange or off-putting – are presented by likable and intelligent interview subjects: the ideas are, in short, given human faces.

I have vastly enjoyed using these films in undergraduate classes, where they evoke intense interest and stir excellent discussions. But I find it hard to think of any audience, whether professional, academic or political, that could not benefit from these superlative examples of documentary filmmaking.”

Philip Jenkins, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University, & Senior Fellow, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University

“Teaching how Africa’s world religions intersect with indigenous belief systems pose daunting pedagogical challenges, especially in the West. Ault’s impressive documentaries effectively challenge the sensationalism notoriously persistent even among intelligent lay learners. They deftly engage the creative agency among the masses of African religious adherents in national African Christianity Rising 4 and transnational contexts and are essential teaching tools in African studies.”

Olufemi Vaughan, Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies & History Director, Africana Studies Program, Bowdoin College


Bookings are closed for this event.


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Date(s) - October 22
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

ITS Chapel