Rick Warren recently said …

The last 50 years has seen the greatest redistribution of a religion ever in the history of the world. There is nothing even to compare to it. For instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1900, 71% of all, quote, "Christians" lived in Europe. By 2000 only 28% claimed to be Christian, and I'm sure it's far smaller than that who actually even go to a church.

On the other hand, Christianity was exploding in Africa, Asia and Latin America. If you want to know the future of evangelicalism, it is in those continents. To give you an example, in 1900 there were only 10 million Christians in all of Africa — 10% of the population. Today there are 360 million Christians in Africa, over half the population. That is a complete turnaround on a continent that's never, ever been seen or done in history.

You may be surprised to know that there are more Christians in China than there are in America, by far. There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than there are in Scotland, where they came out of with John Knox. There are more Baptists in Nagaland, a state in India, than there are in the South here in America. There are more Anglicans in either Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria — any of these — than in England. There are 2 million Anglicans in England. There are 17 million Anglicans in Nigeria.

The Church of England is a misnomer. It is now the Church of Africa. I have been involved in the ordination of many of those Anglican leaders. They have spread all over. Last Sunday there were more Christians who went to church in China than all of Europe combined. That is a fundamental shift. If you want to know the future of Christianity, it is the developing world. It's Africa, it's Latin America, and it's Asia.

In fact, there are about 15,000 missionaries now working in England from Brazil, China, Korea, other countries that you used to think, well, those would receive missionaries. In fact, Brazil sends out far more missionaries than either Great Britain or Canada combined. So that's a fundamental shift.

That's all I'm going to say about the future of evangelicalism. It ain't here. Okay?

[To read the complete transcript of this interview with Rick Warren, click here]

I can only agree. The non-West is leading the world in evangelism, church growth and spiritual vitality. We in the West have much to learn from what God is doing in Africa, Asia (including China) and South America.

5 thoughts on “The Global Shift

  1. Thanks for the mission statistics and progress on evangelism Mark. Seems like the hot countries are on fire for Jesus while colder countries like those in Europe, England and USA have cooled off. Amazing global shift and sad at the same time! Very interesting. What about Australia? How are we going in those areas?

  2. I do not disagree completely with Rick Warren, if growth is measured by number per se. The future is great for all nations. The West had much to contribute in term of spiritual maturity and theological teaching to the christian in developing countries. I see christian in developing countries and the west as mutually complimetary with different strengths and giftings. However, I am indeed surprise to meet some African and Asian Missionary in Melbourne.
    Ausralia is still a great christian country and God bless her.

  3. How can a country be christian Ming? I would have to contend that only people can be christians. How would we categorise a country as being christian?

  4. Mark,
    Given this can you suggest anything that a couple with a 1 year old baby could go and do o/s for God. Some sort of volunteer work or study ?
    We can go for around 2-6 months and have the $ to fund ourselves.
    We would prefer not a developing country this time because of the age of our child.

  5. Sure Andrew. I suggest you contact someone in our World Impact ministry for some suggestions. Andrew is our director of this ministry but he is away for 10 days holiday, so maybe call after that. Good on you!

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