Christianity’s Surprise – A Sure and Certain Hope

C. Kavin Rowe

October 20, 2020 – Abingdon Press

At its beginning Christianity was surprising, powerful, creative, world-shaking. Today in the West it is many times familiar, common, and expected, losing its power to surprise and transform. We have developed societal amnesia and ignorance of what Christianity originally was – and what it still can be. We need to recover the surprise of Christianity. We need to ask the same fundamental questions as the early Christians, which will help us rediscover the surprising power of Christianity in our midst. Focusing on the surprise of the gospel message takes us into the heart of what it is to understand Christianity at all, and thus what it is to remember and relearn the life-giving power and witness that went with being Christian at the beginning. This remembering and relearning can, in turn, surprise us all over again and chart a course for our witness today.


C. Kavin Rowe, from Duke Divinity School, was awarded a grant to work on the research and publication of a forthcoming book on Christianity’s “surprise.” The project will focus on recovering the original “surprise” that Christianity presented to the world, and the significance of such a surprise for a range of areas in contemporary life—health care, law, education, and so forth.