The 21st century will be The Christian Century. Christianity is booming throughout the world and most of us in North America aren’t even aware of this trend. Throughout the Western world, Christianity is on the wane. In Europe, the Christian faith has given way to a secular faith and most churches are empty on a Sunday morning. Only in America is Christianity continuing to grow and this is due to immigration and faster birthrates than seen in Europe.
The center of the Christian world is presently moving south to Africa and South America. In Nigeria, there are more practicing Anglicans than in England and Uganda is catching up as well. The Philippines have more baptisms per year than France, Spain, Italy and Poland combined. Not only that, but there could be a theological schism developing between the new Christians in developing countries and their counterparts in the West. Another trend rarely noted; Christianity is faring very well in the competition for the soul of the world’s poor against Islam.
In 1900, Africa had only 10 million Christians, who represented about 9% of its population and today, nearly half of all Africans profess their faith in Jesus Christ. Latin America is practically all Christian and even in Asia, there are over 300 million practicing Christians. The growth of the Church in the developing nations is phenomenal and Professor Phillip Jenkins wrote, “In its variety and vitality, in its global reach, in its association with the world's fastest-growing societies . . . it is Christianity that will leave the deepest mark on the twenty-first century.” The largest populations of Christians now live in Africa and Latin America.
This boom will redefine the regions, politics and Christianity theology. The more secular West is pushing for greater reform in its churches whereas Southern Hemisphere Christians are requesting a return to either a more traditional Catholic Church or are flocking to the evangelical version of Christianity. While Europe and America control the leadership of the major denominations today, theologians in the developing world will soon be challenged for leadership roles. Many believers in the Southern Hemisphere look to spiritual revelation and exorcism of demonic forces and are creating a new version of early Christianity.