Growth of evangelical Christianity in irreligious regions

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By 2030, China is expected to have the world's largest Christian population.[1]

Below are some notable examples of Evangelical Christianity growing in irreligious regions in the 21st century and the 20th century.

In terms of the global population, atheism is shrinking as a percentage of the world's population (see: Global atheism and Global atheism statistics and Desecularization).

Evangelical Christianity is projected to increase it global market share in the 21st century (see: Growth of evangelical Christianity).

Growth of evangelical Christianity in China

See also: Growth of Christianity in China and East Asia and global desecularization

The speed of growth of Christianity in China 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.[2]

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[3] See: Western atheism and race

China has the world's largest atheist population.[4][5]

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[6] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[7] 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.[8]

South Korea and global desecularization

South Korean churches have embraced the cause of international missions, and they have sent more than 20,000 missionaries throughout the world.[9]

In 2005, according to figures compiled by the South Korean National Statistical Office, 46.5% of the population were classified as irreligious, compared to 22.8% Buddhists, 18.3% Protestants, 10.9% Catholics, and 1.7% Other religions.[10]

John Mark Terry writes in his paper The Growth of Christianity in East Asia:

South Korea represents one of international missions’s great successes. Flying into Seoul at night is a blessing for a Christian. One can see florescent crosses on top of church buildings all over the city. During the 1970s and 80s Christianity grew tremendously in Korea. That explosive growth has slowed now, but Christians comprise 31 percent of the population. The Korean churches have embraced the cause of international missions, and they have sent more than 20,000 missionaries throughout the world. At first these missionaries primarily ministered to Koreans living abroad, but improved missionary training has brought a greater emphasis on crosscultural mission.[11]

A majority of Christian pastors in South Korea consider themselves evangelical Christians.[12]

Growth of evangelical Christianity in secular Europe

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century

Austria's census data permits demographers to perform analysis which indicates the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

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. [19]

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.[20] In addition, the latest immigrants to the UK as a whole mean British Christianity is becoming more charismatic and fundamentalist.[21]

Due to religious immigrants, many of whom are evangelical Christians, church attendance in Greater London grew by 16% between 2005 and 2012.[22] In 2013, it was reported that 52% of people who attended church in London attended evangelical churches.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25]

Australian growth of evangelical Christianity

Church growth expert Ed Stetzer indicates:

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.)[26]

New Zealand and the growth of evangelical Christianity

Evangelical Christianity has grown from approximately 13,800 followers in 2006 to 15,400 in 2013."[27]

Collapse of atheism in Russia and subsequent growth of evangelicalism in Russia

See also: Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union

A Soviet propaganda poster disseminated in the Bezbozhnik (Atheist) magazine depicting Jesus being dumped from a wheelbarrow by an industrial worker as well as a smashed church bell; the text advocates Industrialisation Day as an alternative replacement to the Christian Transfiguration Day. see: Militant atheism

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[28]

In 2003, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard published a paper by Assaf Moghadam entitled A Global Resurgence of Religion? which declared:

As the indications leave little doubt, Russia is showing clear signs of a religious resurgence. In fact, all seven criteria by which change in religious behavior and values are measured here confirmed that Russia is experiencing what could be called a religious revival. Since 1970, the nonreligious/atheist population has been on steady decline, from 52% in 1970 to 33% in 2000. Further, the percentage of this population is projected to decrease even further, possibly reaching the 20% mark in 2025. Between 1990 and 1997, belief in God has risen from 35% to a whopping 60%, while belief in the importance of God has climbed to 43% in 1997, up from 25% in 1990. More people have been raised religious in Russia in 1997 (20%) than at the beginning of the decade (18%), and 8.39% more Russians believed religion to be important toward the end of the 1990s, when compared to 1990. “Comfort in Religion” has also sharply increased within this time period, from less than 27% to over 46%. Finally, more and more Russians attend church services more regularly in 1997 than they did in 1990.

In the three Eastern European countries that were included in the WVS survey on belief in God, a drastic rise could be witnessed of respondents who answered this question in the affirmative. In Hungary, the percentage of believers in God jumped from 44% to 58% from 1981 to 1990, even prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In Belarus, the number of people who believe in God nearly doubled over the course of the 1990s, from 36% to 68%, while in Latvia this figure almost quadrupled, from 18% to 67% in the same time period. Similar trends held true when it came to the importance of God, where there was a sharp rise in all three countries.[29]

Currently about 8% of Russians are atheists.[30]

Evangelicalism and Russia

According to the Christian Broadcasting Network:

The Orthodox Church's biggest competitors are the evangelical, charismatic congregations, which are experiencing tremendous growth.

"So many Russians are leaving the Orthodox Church and joining the charismatic churches and they don't like it," Ryakhovski said.

Ryakhovski gave CBN News a document produced by a leading Russian research group and backed by the Orthodox Church. The paper was titled, "Ways to weaken the potential of neo-Pentecostal sects and to help their victims."....

Once a persecuted minority, evangelical Christians in Russia and the surrounding countries that once made up the former Soviet Union, are now exerting more influence in society by displaying what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

"People are looking for meaning, they are looking for authentic lifestyles, authentic relationships," Sipko told CBN News. "And so in the midst of all the economic and social changes, we have the opportunity to demonstrate what a personal relationship with Jesus is like."[31]

See also

Notes

  1. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  2. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  3. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  4. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  5. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  6. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  7. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  8. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  9. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  10. According to figures compiled by the South Korean [[National Statistical Office (South Korea)|]]. 인구,가구/시도별 종교인구/시도별 종교인구 (2005년 인구총조사). NSO online KOSIS database. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  11. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  12. Towards a new chapter in Korean evangelicalism
  13. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  14. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  15. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  16. When will the world be over half evangelical? by Justin Long
  17. In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord
  18. In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord
  19. Evangelical Churches Flourishing in Europe, Voice of America website, 2009
  20. London Churchgoing and Other News
  21. I'm not surprised Evangelical Christianity is on the rise by Ed West, The Telegraph, December 14th, 2009
  22. London Churchgoing and Other News
  23. London Churchgoing and Other News
  24. I'm not surprised Evangelical Christianity is on the rise by Ed West, The Telegraph, December 14th, 2009
  25. Ghanaian pastor seeks to 're-Christianize' Germany
  26. Australia and evangelical Christianity
  27. Evangelical Christianity and New Zealand
  28. Investigating atheism: Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  29. A Global Resurgence of Religion? by Assaf Moghadam, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University
  30. Fast facts about Russia
  31. Russian Evangelicals Leery of Orthodox Church