We misreport history and misrepresent reality when we consider Christianity a Western religion. The Church is a worldwide phenomenon with trends that will surprise the observant.
Grounding Statistics (2020)
- Christianity has 2.4 billion adherents which are 31% of the world’s population.
- 50% are classified as Catholics, and 38% are classified as Protestants.
- The subsequent religions with the most adherents are Islam (25%), secular (16%), Hinduism (15%), and Buddhism (5%).
- All other world religions only claim 8% of the world’s population.
- One of the most unmistakable trends is that Christianity is growing in contexts that are non-Western cultures.
- In 1900, 10% of the Sub-saharan population was Christian, but the Church has grown to over 60% today.
- Within the most rapid growth versions, a particular emphasis on supernatural power and workings occurs.
- One of the greatest dangers is embracing syncretism and rejecting divine revelation.
- 55% of the world’s population resides in Asia, and only 8% profess Christ (2% in 1900).
- Asia houses some of the most adversarial governments to Christianity (North Korea, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and China).
- Seven of the ten’s world’s largest cities are in Asia and have created environments of extreme poverty, rampant trafficking, and viral diseases.
- The conquests of Portugal and Spain “converted” Christians in the sixteenth century, so Catholicism became a way of life that currently produced 75% of the population, with only 15% active in a church.
- Due to the severe poverty in these countries, the prosperity gospel has been highly appealing to many adherents stifled by harsh conditions, corrupt governments, and shielded religious institutions.
The Middle East and North Africa
- The effects of the Islamic empire’s conquest in this region cannot be overstated; the area has barely kept a Christian population due to illegal conversion, higher taxes, and marriage and inheritance laws created to dissuade converts.
- In the area where Christianity was born, the chances to grow or merely plateau are unlikely.
- These thousands of islands in the South Pacific claim 90% adherents to Christianity, though it stems from a colonization approach in its history.
- In this area, the individual profession is not as prominent as a group approach of mass acceptance among families, villages, or societies.
- Within one century, Russia and Eastern Europe experienced state-favored Christianity, Communist opposition, and cultural irrelevance.
- Much of the Christian response is pendulum-swinging from the West (Christianity as seen as the preferred religion, consumerism vs. communism) or survival in such a hostile setting (Serbian Orthodox bishop: “disregard the Gospel…turn to an eye for an eye…”).
- While most of the population still claims Christianity, a declining number attend church.
- While not thriving like it used to, the church in the United States is not experiencing as sharp a decline as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
- The cause for much of the decline was a loss of missionary zeal of those who considered themselves nestled in “Christian cultures.”
This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14).