Is Christianity growing or declining? Most people would give an answer to that question based on partial information. Here is a bigger picture of what is happening with Christian faith on a global sale. As of 2017, there were approximately 2.2 billion Christians in the world. This figure includes all groups that fall within the traditional understanding of Christianity, including, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and various groups of Protestants. Compare Christianity with its closest rival, Islam which is approaching 2 billion. There are significant groups of Christians on every continent and in every country in the world.
Where Christianity is growing
Approximately 2.7 million people convert to Christianity each year from some other religion.
For example, since the year 2000, Muslim converts to Christianity have averaged more than 100,000 per year.
Another example is found in the 1.6 million Americans of Jewish background who identify themselves with some form of Christianity.
Since 1945, Christianity in China has grown from more than 1 million to perhaps 70 million.
Also since 1945, Christianity in South Korea has increased from around 2% of the population to around 30%. The largest congregation in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church has more than 200,000 members and is located in Seoul South Korea.
Roman Catholicism has grown by approximately 11% worldwide since 2000, with the largest gains in Africa. Since the mid-20th century, Protestant groups have grown 300% faster than the world population rate, and 200% faster than the rate of growth for Islam. Protestants of all groups now account for 40% of all self-identified Christians. For example:
There are 300 million Protestants in Africa, apart from the Muslim majority regions of North Africa.
Even so, there are more than 2 million Protestants in North Africa and the Middle East.
North and South America combined account for 260 million Protestants, with countries like Brazil, Guatemala, and Haiti experiencing impressive growth in the past 50 years.
Europe currently has around 100 million Protestants.
Where Christianity is declining
Since 2000, the United States has seen a 7% decline in people who identify as Christians of any kind. Experts believe this decline has resulted from the increasing climate of skepticism in general, and a growing hostility toward Christian faith in various influential sectors within society. An even steeper rate of decline has occurred in Canada and Europe, with the exception of portions of Eastern Europe, where Christian faith has been on the upswing since World War II.
Overall, Christianity is doing very well around he world. Contrary to the predictions of many in the Western world, Christianity is not in any danger, but continues to be the largest single religious family and is steadily gaining ground in many parts of the world. American Christians can be encouraged by this fact, while finding new and creative ways to stop and reverse the decline we are seeing in our own culture.
Sources: World Christian Encyclopedia, Pew Research Center.
How did the spread of Islam happen? The actual Youtube video by by Dr. Bill Warner was titled: Jihad vs. the Crusades. I love the way Dr. Warner graphically demonstrates how islam spread relentlessly in the Middle Ages and beyond.
In previous blogs, I posted the similar graphic representations of the spread of Christianity from its beginnings to the present. Like the spread of Christianity videos, this one is simplistic, but it does a great job of showing how how things changed on the map over time. Keep in mind that not everyone who lived under the rule of Islam was Muslim. Christians, Jews, and others were allowed to live in these regions under certain conditions. The value of the map is that it shows the influence / dominance of Islam as it spread, and in some cases retreated (as in the case of Spain and Portugal).
An Important Difference
I would like to point out one simple difference between Christianity and Islam. Christianity began as a religion of peace (turn the other cheek, etc.). Because of this value, most often Christianity relied upon persuasion to win converts. Yes, it is true that there were episodes of Christian military conquest. For example, Charlemagne’s “conversion” of the Saxons of north Germany in the eighth and ninth centuries, or the Crusades of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. But these are clearly the exceptions. Islam is quite the opposite. Although Islam was able to use persuasion at times, it was born in armed conflict under the prophet Muhammad and tended to option for its tried and true method: jihad, or armed force.
I hope this video is helpful. Feel free to share this video with your friends, but be sure to give credit to Dr. Warner.
Check out this video: Christianity’s Spread: 1000 – 2016 AD!
In a previous blog, I posted this graphic map of Christianity’s spread from its beginnings around 30 AD to the year 1,000. This sequel video shows its continued global spread until the present time. Note that the maker of this video (Ollie Bye) includes all branches of Christianity in the video, including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Christianity as well as Protestantism. He does this by using different colors. Of course the video is simplistic, but it does a great job of showing how Jesus’ words about preaching to all nations is being fulfilled!
The map gives a global perspective
So often we think of Christianity as a European or North American thing that was exported to other parts of the world. This video showing Christianity’s spread over the past one thousand years gives perspective on that idea. The truth is that Christianity only reached most of Europe around 400 years after the time of Christ, and spread to eastern Europe just before the year 1,000 (see the previous video). Christian Faith came to North America with the European colonists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Share your thoughts
Tell me what you think about this visual representation. Feel free to share the video with your friends, but don’t forget to give credit to Ollie Bye, its creator.
Check out this video on Christianity’s Spread 30-1000 AD! I think you’ll find that it will surprise you with how Christianity became established and the timeline it followed.
The value of this video.
This video shows visually how Christianity spread over its first thousand years from a tiny persecuted group in the Middle East to eventually cover much of Europe and beyond. It is interesting to see that Southern Europe, as well as parts of Africa and Asia became Christianized first. It took 600 years for the ancestors of the English to embrace Christianity. The Germans accepted Christian faith at least a century later, and the Russians converted just before 1000 AD. Notice how Christianity once also covered much of the Middle East and North Africa, but was displaced by Islam around 650 AD.
The next segment
This video was created and originally originally posted by Ollie Bye. I will follow up this presentation with another post by the same person featuring a video of the spread of Christianity from 1000 AD to the present. If you are of Christian faith, I think you may find these videos encouraging. If you are not of Christian faith, you may at least learn some facts that you were unaware of. Either way, enjoy.
Meanwhile, tell me what you think, and feel free to share this post with your friends.
Watch the Video: Christianity’s Spread: 30-1,000 AD