Future of Christianity

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The prominent historian Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University, indicates that he believes Christianity faces a "bright future" worldwide (See also: Global Christianity).

According to MacCulloch, "Christianity, the world's largest religion, is rapidly expanding – by all indications, its future is very bright."[1]

The prominent historian Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University, indicates that he believes Christianity faces a "bright future" worldwide (See also: Global Christianity). More specifically, according to MacCulloch, "Christianity, the world's largest religion, is rapidly expanding – by all indications, its future is very bright."[2]

In 2050, the Christian population is predicted to exceed 3 billion.[3]

In 2012, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) reported that every day there are 83,000 more people professing to be Christians per day, 800 less atheists per day, 1,100 less non-religious (agnostic) people per day.[4][5]

Phillip Jenkins published the 2011 book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.[6]

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 world's 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.[7]

The American sociologist and author Peter L. Berger introduced the concept of desecularization in 1999.[8][9] According to Berger, "One can say with some confidence that modern Pentecostalism must be the fastest growing religion in human history."[10] See also: Growth of pentecostalism and Growth of religious fundamentalism

Future of Christianity: World's most geographically diverse religion

Hong Kong Christians at Gateway Camp. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[11]

See also: Global Christianity and Center for the Study of Global Christianity and Global creationism and

In terms of its geographic distribution, Christianity is the most globally diverse religion.[12] Christianity has recently seen explosive growth outside the Western World.[13]

In 2000, there were twice as many non-Western Christians as Western Christians.[14] In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western Christians as there were Western World Christians.[14] There are now more non-Western missionaries than Western missionaries.[14] See also: Global scope of indigenous evangelical Christianity evangelism

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.[15]

Rapid growth of evangelical Christianity and pentecostalism

Mexican Pentecostal church service.

See also: Growth of global desecularization and Global Christianity and Christianity by continent

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."[16]

Evangelical Christianity is growing rapidly in the world (See: Growth of evangelical Christianity).

World Christian Database (WCD) provides comprehensive statistical information on world religions, Christian denominations, and people groups. It is edited by the scholars Dr. Todd Johnson and Dr. Brian Grim. The WCD 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.

High growth of pentecostalism

Pentecostalism has experienced explosive growth for the past half-century. The membership is young and fast-growing. The atheist author and advocate David Madison, PhD wrote in March 2019: "I remain haunted—and terrified—by what I read on a Christian website, not long after the turn of this century: that by 2025, there will be one billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) Pentecostals in the world."[17]

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.[18]

Growth of Christianity in China

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

In 2020, The Economist published an article entitled Protestant Christianity is booming in China which indicated:

As for China’s Christians, their numbers continue to grow. The government reckons that about 200m of China’s 1.4bn people are religious. Although most practice traditional Chinese religions such as Taoism, and longer-standing foreign imports such as Buddhism, Protestant Christianity is probably the fastest-growing faith, with at least 38m adherents today (about 3% of the population), up from 22m a decade ago, according to the government’s count. The true number is probably much higher: perhaps as many as 22m more Chinese Protestants worship in unregistered “underground” churches, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame. As China also has 10m-12m Catholics, there are more Christians in China today than in France (38m) or Germany (43m). Combined, Christians and the country’s estimated 23m Muslims may now outnumber the membership of the Communist Party (92m). Indeed, an unknown number of party members go to church as well as local committee meetings.[19]

To see the magnitude of the explosive growth of Christianity in China, examine this graph about the growth of Christianity in China in a DW news story about Chinese Christianity (DW is a mainstream news outlet in Germany). There are now more Christians in China than Chinese who belong to the Communist Party of China (see also: East Asia and global desecularization).[20]

For more information, please see:

Rapid growth of Christianity in Africa

See also: Religion and Africa

African Christians clapping at an open air meeting.

In recent years, Christianity has seen a rapid growth in Africa.[21] See: Global Christianity

The Freedom From Religion Foundation reported:

A new study conducted by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says that Africans are among the most religious people on Earth. The study, titled “Tension and Tolerance: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa,” was based on more than 25,000 interviews conducted in more than 60 languages in 19 countries...

At least three out of 10 people across much of Africa said they have experienced divine healing, seen the devil being driven out of a person or have received a direct revelation from God. [22]

Africa has a high fertility rate and it is seeing a big population boom. According to the Institute For Security Studies: "Africa's population is the fastest growing in the world. It is expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035. In fact, Africa will account for nearly half of global population growth over the next two decades."[23] See also: Global desecularization

Between 2000 and 2020, the continent of Africa had more than 37,000 new Christians every day.[24]

In 2011, USA Today published an article entitled Study: Christianity grows exponentially in Africa which declared:

Meanwhile, the faith has grown exponentially in sub-Saharan Africa, from just 9% of the population in 1910 to 63% today. Nigeria, home to more than 80 million Christians, has more Protestants than Germany, where the Protestant Reformation began.

"As a result of historic missionary activity and indigenous Christian movements by Africans, there has been this change from about one in 10 (sub-Saharan Africans) identifying with Christianity in 1910 to about six in 10 doing so today," Hackett said.[25]

Evangelism - Christianity vs. Islam competition in Africa

See also: Evangelism - Christianity vs. Islam competition in Africa

In 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported:

Across sub-Saharan Africa, religion today is in ferment as different versions of Christianity and Islam vie for believers—a contest that is transforming both faiths and disrupting long-established terms of coexistence.

Owing to population growth and the intensity of their religiosity, Africans are now one of the more important constituencies of both Islam and Christianity worldwide, and sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s most active and contested religious markets. The region was 59% Christian and 30% Muslim in 2020, according to the World Religion Database. “There is a new scramble for Africa,” said Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome of Jamia Mosque in Nairobi, Kenya, drawing an analogy with the colonization of the continent in the late 19th century. “Christianity is growing, Islam is growing, and there is competition.”

On a continent where indigenous religions dominated just a century ago, Christian missionary efforts, associated with European colonization, have borne fruit in massive conversions. By 2020, there were 643 million Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, a quarter of the world total, up from 7.4 million in 1900. By 2050, it is projected that there will be 1.3 billion Christians in the region, or 38% of all the Christians in the world.[26]

Christendom has cohesive, high moral standards

See also: Christianity and social stability and Religion and crime reduction

Jesus Christ and his apostles taught a gospel of love.[27]

Organizations with high, cohesive, consistent ethical standards are better able to last long term.

Jesus Christ set the highest moral standards for his followers and the Sermon on the Mount is an example of this matter. Jesus and his apostles taught a gospel of love.[27]

In his work The Triumph of the Gospel of Love, Monk Themistocles Adamopoulo writes:

Christians undertook a great deal of almsgiving to the poor not only to fellow believers but to pagans as well. So amazed was the anti-Christian pagan emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363 AD), with the sheer benevolence and excellence of Christian philanthropy that he was forced to admit in wonder their superiority over paganism in matters of charity:
"These godless Galileans (ie. Christians) feed not only their own poor but ours: our poor lack our care" (Ep. Sozom. 5:16).

Widows and orphans in particular became the recipients of special financial support and respect. This created a most favourable impression upon the pagan world. The sick, the infirm and the disabled also became an integral part, wherever possible, of the Church's obedience to Christ's commandment to love (Matt 25:35-36). Indeed in times of contagious epidemics raging through the cities of the Mediterranean world, ancient documentary evidence suggests that Christians were more likely to stay on to care and visit the stricken rather than attempt to flee as the pagans were often inclined to d0. Indeed it is recorded that at the time of the great plague which struck the empire during the reign of Maximinus (235-38 AD), Christians practiced the Gospel of love perfectly by taking care of pagans as well as Christians...[27]

Christianity and the 22nd century

See also: Global Christianity and Growth of evangelical Christianity and Growth of Christianity in China and Religion and its projected increase in the 22nd century

The Gospel Coalition website indicates:

But if we were to jump forward into the 22nd century, I wonder what we would see.

Most likely, we would see a world in which the explosive growth of Christians in South America, China and Africa has dwarfed the churches of North America and Europe. And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.[28]

Historical examples of the exponential growth of Christianity

See: Historical examples of the exponential growth of Christianity

Projected growth of Christianity graph

See also: Growth of Christianity

United States, immigration and the growth of religion in the USA in the latter part of the 21st century

See also: United States, immigration and the growth of religion in the USA in the latter part of the 21st century

"The U.S. Census Bureau issued a report just after the 2020 data was collected that notes two key demographic realities that churches need to get ready for now. First, by 2030 immigration is projected to become the primary driver of population growth in the United States."[30]

Pew Research data in agreement with U.S. Census Bureau data on immigration being the primary driver of population growth in the USA: "Pew Research Center has put a number on a similar forecast: 82% of U.S. growth from 2005 to 2050 will come from new immigrants and their families."[31]

Most immigrants to the United States are religious (See: United States, immigration and the growth of religion in the USA in the latter part of the 21st century).

Promises of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ (Artist's impression)

The Bible declares:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.(Matthew 16: 13-18 ESV)[32]

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Matthew 34:25 ESV). - Jesus Christ

"In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2 ESV) - Jesus Christ

Future of Christianity: Excellent evidence that Christianity is true and bold evangelism

There is excellent evidence that Christianity is true. One of these pieces of evidence is communion with God.

The many evidences of the validity of Christianity from multiple lines of evidence provides confidence to many Christians and many Christians boldly share their faith.

Books

  • The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins. Publisher: ‎ Oxford University Press; 3rd edition (September 13, 2011). ISBN-10: 0199767467. ISBN-13: 978-0199767465
  • The Future of Christianity by Alister McGrath, Wiley-Blackwell; 1st edition (February 1, 2002). ISBN-10: 0631228152. ISBN-13: 978-0631228158

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Historian predicts 'bright future' for Christianity
  2. Historian predicts 'bright future' for Christianity
  3. The Future of World Religions p.59.
  4. Globally the worldviews of atheism and non-religious (agnostic) are declining while global Christianity is exploding in adherents
  5. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - Status of Global Missions
  6. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins. Publisher: ‎ Oxford University Press; 3rd edition (September 13, 2011). ISBN-10: 0199767467. ISBN-13: 978-0199767465
  7. How Christianity is Growing Around the World by Chuck Colson
  8. Journal of Church and State, Desecularization: A Conceptual Framework by Vyacheslav Karpov, 2010
  9. 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)
  10. Pentecostalism – Protestant Ethic or Cargo Cult?, Peter Berger, July 29, 2010
  11. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  12. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  13. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger, Page 9
  14. Thriving Christianity
  15. Atheist author and advocate is absolutely TERRIFIED about the future growth of pentecostal Christianity, Examining Atheism, March 2019
  16. 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.
  17. Protestant Christianity is booming in China, The Economist, Sep 15th 2020
  18. In Xi we trust - Is China cracking down on Christianity?, DW News
  19. The African apostles: How Christianity exploded in 20th-century Africa
  20. Leo Igwe. Why so many Africans are religious. Retrieved on March 16, 2020.
  21. Africa’s population boom: burden or opportunity?, Institute For Security Studies
  22. Glenn Sunshine and Jerry Trousdale with Greg Benoi (March 15, 2020). Christianity is growing faster than any time in history. Why is the Church in Europe, America declining?. The Christian Post. Retrieved on March 16, 2020.
  23. 'Study: Christianity grows exponentially in Africa, USA Today, 2011
  24. The Competition for Believers in Africa’s Religion Market, Wall Street Journal, 2021
  25. 27.0 27.1 27.2 The Triumph of the Gospel of Love by Monk Themistocles (Adamopoulo)
  26. Which Churches Will Thrive in the 21st Century?
  27. Total Christian population graph
  28. Ed Stetzer: The Church of 2030, Outreach Magazine, 2023
  29. To America With Love: Why U.S. Christianity’s Resurgence Will Come From Immigrants, Wheaton College, Billy Graham Center, 2023
  30. ESV version of the Bible: Matthew 16: 13-18