Growth of evangelical Christianity

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A Pew Forum report showed that evangelical Protestant churches in America grew by 2 million from 2007 to 2014.[1]

Evangelical Christianity has seen rapid growth in the world at large and growth in the developed world.

Evangelical Christianity and the developed world

Evangelicalism and conservative Christianity in the United States

Michael Brown wrote:

Several decades ago, church statistician and demographer David Barrett began to report the surprising news that around the world, the most rapidly growing faith was Spirit-empowered Christianity, marked by clear gospel preaching, belief in the literal truth of the Scriptures, and the reality of God’s presence. (The data were compiled in the prestigious “World Christian Encyclopedia,” published by Oxford University Press.)...

This is confirmed in the new Pew Forum report, which showed that evangelical Protestant churches in America grew by 2 million from 2007 to 2014 whereas the so-called mainline (liberal) Protestant churches declined by 5 million, meaning that evangelical Protestants now make up the largest religious group in the nation. (Although this is not part of the Pew Forum survey, my surmise is that the evangelical churches that are most Bible-based and make the most serious, grace-empowered demands on their congregants are, generally speaking, the ones that are growing rather than declining.[2]

In their 2010 journal article entitled, Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043 published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon wrote that the "prevailing view ...envisions the continued growth of “strong religion” (Stark and Iannaccone 1994a)."[3] See also: Baylor University researchers on American Christianity

Professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:

In North America, only small Anabaptist sects like the Hutterites (population 50,000), Amish and some Mennonites maintain a Haredi-like fertility premium, and will emerge as significant groups in rural areas over several generations...

Conservative Christians as a whole will have a stronger presence in the white America of 2050 than they do today, and a more powerful national voice if they can forge alliances with traditionalist Hispanic Catholics, as shown in the recent success of Proposition 8 (anti-same sex marriage) in California.[4]

Evangelicalism and Europe

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century and Growth of evangelical Christianity in irreligious regions

Austria's census data permits demographers to perform analysis which indicates the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021.[5]

Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:

We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).

This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.[6]

Regarding the future of evangelical Protestantism in Europe, in a paper entitled Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Kaufmann wrote:

What of European Christianity? The conventional wisdom holds it to be in free fall, especially in Western Europe. (Bruce 2002) This is undoubtedly correct for Catholic Europe, while Protestant Europe already has low levels of religious practice. Yet closer scrutiny reveals an increasingly lively and demographically growing Christian remnant. Several studies have examined the connection between religiosity - whether defined as attendance, belief or affiliation - and fertility in Europe. Most find a statistically significant effect even when controlling for age, education, income, marital status and other factors...

Moving to the wider spectrum of European Christianity, we find that fertility is indeed much higher among European women who are religious...

Today, most of those who remain religious in Europe wear their beliefs lightly, but conservative Christianity is hardly a spent force. Data on conservative Christians is difficult to come by since many new churches keep few official records. Reports from the World Christian Database, which meticulously tracks reports from church bodies, indicates that 4.1 percent of Europeans (including Russians) were evangelical Christians in 2005. This figure rises to 4.9 percent in northern, western and southern Europe. Most religious conservatives are charismatics, working within mainstream denominations like Catholicism or Lutheranism to ‘renew’ the faith along more conservative lines. There is also an important minority of Pentecostals, who account for .5% of Europe’s population. Together, charismatics and Pentecostals account for close to 5 % of Europe’s population. The proportion of conservative Christians has been rising, however: some estimate that the trajectory of conservative Christian growth has outpaced that of Islam in Europe. (Jenkins 2007: 75).

In many European countries, the proportion of conservative Christians is close to the number who are recorded as attending church weekly. This would suggest an increasingly devout Christian remnant is emerging in western Europe which is more resistant to secularization. This shows up in France, Britain and Scandinavia (less Finland), the most secular countries where we have 1981, 1990 and 2000 EVS and 2004 ESS data on religiosity...

Currently there are more evangelical Christians than Muslims in Europe. (Jenkins 2007: 75) In Eastern Europe, as outside the western world, Pentecostalism is a sociological and not a demographic phenomenon. In Western Europe, by contrast, demography is central to evangelicalism’s growth, especially in urban areas. Alas, immigration brings two foreign imports, Islam and Christianity, to secular Europe.[7]

Projected growth of evangelical Christianity in Europe according to Operation World

Justin Long, citing statistics from Operation World states:

Europe. From 18 million today, this model projects growth to 26 million evangelicals by 2100. The annual growth rate will decline along with the falling population AGR, which is projected to hit its peak ‘low’ rate of -0.246% per annum around 2075. Since the evangelical AGR will not be as slow as the population’s, Europe will actually become more evangelical (by percentage of the population): rising from 2.5% in 2010 to 4% in 2100 in this model.[8]

Growth of French evangelical Protestant Christianity

French scholars say, evangelicalism is likely the fastest-growing religion in France – defying all stereotypes about one of Europe’s most secular nations. In 2011, The number of evangelical churches increased from 769 to 2,068 in 2011.[9]

On July 12, 2012, the Christian Science Monitor reported:

French scholars say, evangelicalism is likely the fastest-growing religion in France – defying all stereotypes about Europe’s most secular nation...

Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the French National Evangelical Council, found that since 1970, a new evangelical church has opened in France every 10 days. The number of churches increased from 769 to 2,068 last year.[10]

A 2009 article at the Voice of America website entitled Evangelical Churches Flourishing in Europe declared:

...Evangelical churches are booming across the region, particularly those attended by immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America...

Evangelical Christianity is flourishing in Europe. France has witnessed an eight-fold increase in Evangelical Christians during the past half century, from roughly 50,000 to 400,000....

In a country where people are a bit disappointed by traditional religion, Sinclair says, they are impressed by the way these Evangelical churches are alive and welcoming.

The churches underscore the fact that while secularization continues to progress in Europe, there has been what Sinclair calls a spiritual turning in recent years...

Majagira Bulangalire, the president of Community of Churches of African Expression of France, an umbrella group of immigrant Evangelical churches.

Bulangalire admits there have been a few problems with local authorities. But he says once they see the churches can serve their communities in a positive fashion they are very open. He says the French Interior Ministry has also been welcoming. Some Roman Catholic parishes have adopted Evangelical-style bible study classes. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, head of the Protestant Federation of France, says traditional Protestant churches are realizing they can learn from their Evangelical counterparts. [11]

See also: Immigrant evangelical churches are a fast growing movement in France

Growth of British evangelical Christianity

See also: British atheism

Some 4.5million of the UK's foreign-born population claim to have a religious affiliation and more than half are Christian.

Church attendance in Greater London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2012.[12] In addition, the latest immigrants to the UK as a whole mean British Christianity is becoming more charismatic and fundamentalist.[13]

Due to religious immigrants, many of whom are evangelical Christians, church attendance in Greater London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2012.[14] In 2013, it was reported that 52% of people who attended church in London attended evangelical churches.[15]

On December 14th, 2009, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported:

According to the Mail Evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

Some 4.5million of the UK's foreign-born population claim to have a religious affiliation. Of these, around a quarter are Muslim while more than half are Christian – with Polish Catholics and African Pentecostals among the fastest-growing groups.

While traditional churchgoing is on the decline in the UK over the past decade, the latest immigrants mean Christianity is becoming more charismatic and fundamentalist.

'Perhaps the most significant change has been the growth of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity within migrant populations, particularly those from Africa and Latin America,' the report found.

'In Lewisham, there are 65 Pentecostal churches serving the Nigerian community, and others serving the Congolese, Ghanaian and Ivorian communities.'

Professor Mike Kenny of IPPR said: 'The research shows that recent waves of inward migration have given a boost to some of the UK's established faith communities at a time when Britain's society and culture are generally more secular, and smaller numbers of the indigenous population are regularly attending churches.

'Recent migration trends are altering the faith map of the UK. Their biggest impact is being felt in some of our largest cities: London above all, where a rich mosaic of different faith communities has come into being.'

Evangelical Christianity might be heavily African-influenced but it’s also spreading among the natives as well.[16]

See also:

Germany and the growth of evangelical Christianity

See also: Secular Europe

On March 17, 2014, the news website Deutsche Well reported that evangelical Christianity has doubled in Germany in the last 10 years.[17]

Australian growth of evangelical Christianity

Church growth expert Ed Stetzer indicates: {{Cquote|Evangelicalism has actually grown in Australia, though I would say that has been partly from some coming from the NCC churches. However, the majority of Protestant Australians who attend church go to a conservative church, which may not use the term evangelical, but is influenced by the movement. (I should add that Stuart Piggin’s Spirit, Word and World: Evangelical Christianity in Australia is helpful here.)[18]

New Zealand and the growth of evangelical Christianity

Evangelical Christianity has grown from approximately 13,800 followers in 2006 to 15,400 in 2013."[19]

Rapid global growth of evangelicalism and pentecostalism

The American sociologist and author Peter L. Berger: "One can say with some confidence that modern Pentecostalism must be the fastest growing religion in human history."[20]

See also: Growth of global desecularization and Global Christianity

The American Spectator, writing in 2011 about research published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, declared:

The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding."[21]

The World Christian Database estimates the number of Evangelicals at 300 million individuals, Pentecostals and Charismatics at 600 million individuals and "Great Commission" Christians at 700 million individuals. These Christian groups are not mutually exclusive. Operation World estimates the number of Evangelicals at 550 million individuals.

Explosive growth of pentecostalism

See also: Pentecostalism

The American sociologist and author Peter L. Berger introduced the concept of desecularization in 1999.[22][23] According to Berger, "One can say with some confidence that modern Pentecostalism must be the fastest growing religion in human history."[24]

Pentecostalism has experienced explosive growth for the past half-century. The membership is young and fast-growing. Pentecostalism has grown rapidly in Africa and Latin America.[25][26]

In 2011, a Pew Forum study of worldwide Christianity found that there were about 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of global Christendom Pentecostal.[27]

Phillip Jenkins published the book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.

Chuck Colson, citing the work of Jenkins, writes:

As Penn State professor Philip Jenkins writes in The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, predictions like Huntingtons betray an ignorance of the explosive growth of Christianity outside of the West.

For instance, in 1900, there were approximately 10 million Christians in Africa. By 2000, there were 360 million. By 2025, conservative estimates see that number rising to 633 million. Those same estimates put the number of Christians in Latin America in 2025 at 640 million and in Asia at 460 million.

According to Jenkins, the percentage of the worlds population that is, at least by name, Christian will be roughly the same in 2050 as it was in 1900. By the middle of this century, there will be three billion Christians in the world -- one and a half times the number of Muslims. In fact, by 2050 there will be nearly as many Pentecostal Christians in the world as there are Muslims today.[28]

Sociologist Peter Berger on Pentecostalism and Europe

Peter L. Berger recently said that he previously thought that pentecostalism did not have a significant future in Europe, but he recently saw signs that it could see significant growth in Europe.[29] In addition, pentecostalism often grows fast in areas undergoing economic distress.[30][31] Post 2007 there are concerns that Western economies which have high sovereign debt loads could see some significant economic turmoil in coming years - especially the European countries with aging populations that have been struggling in terms of economic growth.

Global scope of indigenous evangelical Christianity evangelism

Peter L. Berger in his book The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics wrote:

The origins of this worldwide Evangelical upsurge are in the United States from which the missionaries first went out. But it is very important to understand that, virtually everywhere and emphatically in Latin America, this new Evangelicalism is thoroughly indigenous and no longer dependent on support from U.S. fellow believers-indeed, Latin American Evangelicals have been sending missionaries to the Hispanic communiry in this country where there has been a comparable flurry of conversions.

Needless to say, the religious contents of the Islamic and Evangelical revivals are totally different. So are the social and political conscquences (of which I will say more later). But the two developments also differ in another very important respect: The Islamic movement is occurring primarily in countries that are already Muslim or among Muslim emigrants (as in Europe), while the Evangelical movement is growing dramatically throughout the world in countries where this type of religion was previously unknown or very marginal.[32]

Growth of evangelical Christianity in China

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[33] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[34]

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[35] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[36] See also: Asian atheism

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[37]

Justin Wood wrote in 2007:

Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by ...veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history...

I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it.[38]

Projected growth of evangelical Christianity in Asia

See also: Growth of evangelical Christianity

Justin Long, citing statistics from Operation World states:

From 146 million in 2010, evangelicals grow to 1.2 billion, or 24% of Asia’s 4.3 billion by 2100. Evangelicals are, in this model, predicted to slip from 3% per annum growth today to 1.5% per annum in 2100, due to the projected fall in population growth. This, too, seems a fairly realistic projection. While there are significant gains in the number of evangelicals in China, growth in other places in Asia is presently fairly flat.[39]

Eric Kaufmann on religious demographic projections and the future of religious fundamentalism

At a conference Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century:

Part of the reason I think demography is very important, at least if we are going to speak about the future, is that it is the most predictable of the social sciences.

...if you look at a population and its age structure now. You can tell a lot about the future. ...So by looking at the relative age structure of different populations you can already say a lot about the future...

...Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well.[40]

Baylor University researchers on American Christianity

Pat Neff Hall at Baylor University.

See also: Baylor University researchers on American Christianity

In November of 2015, the Christian Post reported

Distinguished scholars from Baylor University on Tuesday decried the myth that religion is on the decline in America and argued that it's actually growing and is stronger than ever.

Professors from Baylor University's Institute for Religion Studies in Waco, Texas, participated in a panel discussion at the National Press Club focusing on the "secularization myth," where they lambasted the media's spin on various surveys which has led many to believe that irreligion is on the rise in the United States...

J. Gordon Melton, professor of American religious history, explained that although Mainline denominations have lost membership in recent years, the number of denominations in America has increased steadily since the 1960s. Now, there are over 1,000 denominations in the U.S.

Melton cited the Encyclopedia of American Religion and the 2010 American Religious Census to show that, as the American population has risen, church membership in America has risen at a much quicker rate.[41]

The Baylor University website similarly declares:

Recent coverage of American religious life, by focusing on the decline of some of the larger denominations and the new organized life of non-theistic communities, have missed the larger story that since World War II, religion in the United States has grown spectacularly and ahead of the population curve. America is now the most religious it has ever been with Church membership at an all-time high and relatively new worshipping communities representing the spectrum of the world's religions now spread across the urban landscape. As a nation in which the great majority of its people have affiliated with a religious community, without government coercion, America is possibly the most religious country that the world has ever seen.”[42]

Miscategorization of nondenominational Christians as having "no religion"

See also: Nones

Research shows that a significant amount of American nondenominational church members are checking "unaffiliated" or "no religion" on surveys.

Based on research done by Baylor University, a February 2011 article entitled Good News about Evangelicalism declares:

Nondenominational churches, almost exclusively evangelical, now represent the second-largest group of Protestant churches in America, and the fastest growing section of the American religious market...

This trend has affected popular statistics and has also served to exaggerate the loss of religious faith and evangelical influence in America. Most previous research missed a new phenomenon: that members of nondenominational churches often identify themselves on surveys as unaffiliated or even as having “no religion.” Because traditional surveys do not provide categories that adequately describe those who attend nondenominational congregations, their members often check “unaffiliated” in typical surveys and questionnaires...

Similarly, claims that Americans, including evangelicals, are falling away from the faith contradict seven decades of survey research confirming that only 4 percent of Americans are atheists.,,

...We found no statistically significant difference between younger and older evangelicals on other moral and political issues, however. Younger evangelicals were, in fact, sometimes more conservative than their elders.

...The number of evangelicals remains high, and their percentage among practicing Christians in America is, if anything, rising.[43]

A review of Rodney Stark's book Why the World is More Religious Than Ever declares:

...it is argued that the percentage of Americans who say they have no religion is skyrocketing. But, all that reflects is an increase in the percentage who have no denominational preference. They are not irreligious. Most of them pray and say they believe in God. In 1944, the Gallup Poll was the first to ask about belief in God, and four percent of Americans said, “No.” When asked that question today, four percent say, “No.” In fact, actual church membership is at an all-time high, and 66 percent now tell Gallup that “religion is important in my daily life."[44]

See also

Notes

  1. Why conservative churches are still growing
  2. Why conservative churches are still growing
  3. Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043, Journal for the Sientific Study of Religion, vol. 49, no. 2 (June) 2010, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon,
  4. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century\ By Eric Kaufmann
  5. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  6. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  7. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  8. When will the world be over half evangelical? by Justin Long
  9. In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord
  10. In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord
  11. Evangelical Churches Flourishing in Europe, Voice of America website, 2009
  12. London Churchgoing and Other News
  13. I'm not surprised Evangelical Christianity is on the rise by Ed West, The Telegraph, December 14th, 2009
  14. London Churchgoing and Other News
  15. London Churchgoing and Other News
  16. I'm not surprised Evangelical Christianity is on the rise by Ed West, The Telegraph, December 14th, 2009
  17. Ghanaian pastor seeks to 're-Christianize' Germany
  18. Australia and evangelical Christianity
  19. Evangelical Christianity and New Zealand
  20. Pentecostalism – Protestant Ethic or Cargo Cult?, Peter Berger, July 29, 2010
  21. Thriving Christianity
  22. Journal of Church and State, Desecularization: A Conceptual Framework by Vyacheslav Karpov, 2010
  23. Peter L. Berger, “The Desecularization of the World: A Global Overview,” in The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, ed. Peter L. Berger (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999)
  24. Pentecostalism – Protestant Ethic or Cargo Cult?, Peter Berger, July 29, 2010
  25. Overview: Pentecostalism in Africa
  26. Why has Pentecostalism grown so dramatically in Latin America?
  27. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (December 19, 2011,), Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population, p. 67.
  28. How Christianity is Growing Around the World by Chuck Colson
  29. Pentecostalism Invades Lambeth Palace by Peter Berger, December 18, 2013
  30. The rise of biblical creationism in Mexico and its effect on American creationism
  31. Economics and Darwinism/atheism
  32. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger, Page 9
  33. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  34. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  35. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  36. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  37. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  38. Christianity Finds a Fulcrum in Asia by Justin Wood
  39. When will the world be over half evangelical? by Justin Long
  40. Eric Kaufmann - Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century
  41. Christianity Is Not Declining in America, Baylor University Professors Say, Christian Post, November 11, 2015
  42. Scholars Will Challenge “Secularization Myth” Nov. 10 at National Press Club
  43. Good News about Evangelicalism, First Things
  44. Rodney Stark: Why the World is More Religious Than Ever By Steve Addison, 3 November, 2015