During the last five hundred years the traditions of Christianity and Christendom were transformed by:

The Renaissance

 The splintering of the Western Church by the Reformation

The intellectual challenges of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

The rise to dominance of the modern nation-state

The emergence of new urban societies and institutions independent of the churches.

The expansion of European empires into the Americas, Africa, and Asia

The dramatic multi-sided transformation continues into the third millennium:

Christendom has largely disappeared both as reality and ideal;  political power, social norms, and cultural values co-exist with Christianity, at times symbiotically, at times neutrally, at times hostilely.

Fragmentation and pluralism have become features of Christianity.

The identification of Christianity with European civilization has steadily weakened as Christian missions penetrated non-western societies and cultures, a long-term trend that has greatly accelerated in the 20th century. The result is the third cultural amalgam in the evolving multi-cultural Christian tradition.

Despite the gradual disappearance of Christendom, these modern transformations have shaped a diverse Christianity that has entered the 21st century, still growing, as the largest of the world's religions. And as Jaroslav Pelikan points out in his last chapter, the appeal of Jesus' person and message at the beginning of the third millennium extends beyond the various Christian churches, making him "the man who belongs to the world."