It sure seems like we’ve been hearing a lot about Islam being the fastest growing religion in the world, the United States, on Mars, wherever. It appears that isn’t true – I knew the Christians wouldn’t take that lying down:
- Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins argues persuasively in The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity that Christianity, more than Islam, will shape the world’s rapidly growing parts. Consider this data:
• By 2050, the world will have three Christians for every two Muslims.
• By 2025, 67 percent of Christians will live in Africa, Latin America or Asia.
• By 2050, a third of Latinos and Asians will come from Christian backgrounds.
• China soon will have more Christians than all but six nations.
• More Presbyterians worship in Ghana than in Scotland. More Anglicans worship in Nigeria than in Britain.
Those numbers will translate into their own political realities – and already have in some nations. In a recent interview, Mr. Jenkins noted that churches led the revolution against apartheid in South Africa. The explosion of Korean Presbyterians helped democratize South Korea. Those examples prove that religion can improve societies.
But the big challenge for Christians in Latin America, Asia and Africa is sidestepping intolerance.
….The fact that Third World believers are conservative is part of a larger struggle between Northern and Southern Christians. The latter have few financial resources, but they have demographic muscle. Look at the Anglican Church, where Southern Hemisphere congregants vote against some Northern Hemisphere Anglicans on issues like ordaining women. The way in which such struggles are resolved will influence both ecclesiastical and political cultures. [Dallas Morning News]