It is a well known fact that Christianity is on the decline in America. For example, a Public Religion Research Institute poll, revealed that more and more Americans are foregoing organized religion altogether, and are not identified with any particular religion. Europe has also shown signs of a declining commitment to Christianity.
Despite the decline in the western world, new statistics reveal Christianity is actually growing globally. Why is Christianity stagnant in the global North while booming in the global South, though? The following provides an answer to this pertinent question:
While evidence points to a decline in organized religion in America and Europe, according to the book “The Kingdom Unleashed: How Jesus’ 1st-Century Values Are Transforming Thousands of Cultures and Awakening His Church,” there is compelling evidence that Christianity is booming in other areas of the world not in the global North.
Dr. Glenn Sunshine, long-time Fellow at the Colson Center and co-author of the aforementioned book, says the many stories he and co-author Jerry Trousdale gathered showed compelling evidence of God’s continued work in various regions. One such story is set in Africa, and involved a Muslim community.
“He reached out to one particularly resistant Muslim community that had martyred six Christian evangelists a few years ago,” Hassan said.
Hassan realized this dangerous region for believers needed the a community school, so he “approached the Muslim leaders and offered to send a qualified teacher to teach the community.” This person also happened to be a trained church planter. This practical way of meeting a very real need opened the doors in the African communities that were previously slammed shut. Consequently, in two years time, seven churches were planted in the region.
Not everyone in the Muslim community was happy with the spread of Christianity, even with the addition of the community school. Consequently, Muslim leaders forced Hassan to appear before a Muslim governor, where he used the platform to speak about the grace of God. He also shared how God had helped the Muslim community by providing safe water programs, mobile medical clinics, dentists, and more in addition to the schools.
As the book revealed, “many of the Muslim clerics who had entered that meeting (mentioned above) burning to have Hassan deported walked away with his business card or plans for further conversation.” This story is just one of many in the book that represent the changes taking place in the global South as hearts are softening to Christianity.
As of 1900, there were only nine million Christians in all of Africa, but some 336 million by the year 2000. There were only 50,000 Protestants in Latin America in 1900, but there are more than 64 million today, most of which have been added since the 1960s. Glenn described the movement as follows on a BreakPoint podcast:
“The fact is, the church is growing faster than it ever has in human history,” Glenn said during his BreakPoint podcast.
This has lead to a boom in Christianity across Latin America, Asia and Africa.
According to a Christian Post article, the reasons behind the disparity between the way Europe and America see Christianity and the way it is viewed by the rest of the world could be related to the way North America and Europe approaches the gospel and social justice. For example, in many cases, individuals in North America and Europe focus on either social justice or individual salvation. Throughout history and into the present; however, when the gospel has flourished, believers are committed fully to the all encompassing vision of the Gospel. This means that preparing souls for heaven is important, but so is the advancement of kingdom values, truth and restoration in social structures and institutions.
It’s good news that Christianity is on the rise globally. It’s just sad that it’s currently not booming in America and Europe. Thankfully, believers in North America and Europe can continue to share the gospel, and hopefully encourage movements toward Christianity through an increased commitment to an all encompassing version of the gospel.
~ 1776 Christian