In 1960, there were an estimated 50 million evangelical Christians
in the West, and 25 million in the rest of the world; today, there are
an estimated 75 million in the West, and 325 million in the rest of the
world (representing about 20 percent of the two billion Christians
worldwide), according to Robert Kilgore, chairman of the board of the
missionary organization Christar. Other experts differ on the
number of evangelicals (estimates range from 250 million to nearly one
billion) but agree that the number is growing rapidly.
are among the fastest-growing segments of Christianity.
Their global numbers are increasing at about 4.7 percent a year,
according to Operation World, a Christian statistical compendium.
comparison, the rate of growth for all Protestants is put at 2.2
percent a year, and for Roman Catholics at 0.5 percent a year. The
world’s population is growing at about 1.4 percent a year. Broadly
defined, evangelicals are Christians who have had a personal or
“born-again” religious conversion, believe that the Bible is the word
of God, and believe in spreading their faith. (The term comes from
Greek; to “evangelize” means to preach the gospel.) The term is
typically applied to Protestants.
I was recently talking about the spread of the Gospel
westward to Jerusalem, from its area of greatest growth in the world
today, which is Asia, before the return of the Lord. More statistics
cited in the article confirms the great growth rate I mentioned. But
this news article, when speaking of the future, mentions a new clash
between Christianity and Islam, far worse than the Crusades, because
modern nations have nuclear weapons.
I can’t agree with
that scenario. My optimism is based in my belief in the triumph of the
Gospel. Where the uncompromised Gospel of grace is preached, lives are
transformed. Revival follows. And if Christianity is growing because
evangelical conversions are driving that growth, with its attendant
adherance to a literal interpretation of Scripture, then I believe
Christianity’s response to Islam will not be a new Crusades. The Gospel
will conquer Islam because Christians will turn the other cheek.
Forgive. Answer not their accuser. Lay down life.
We all just saw the End of the Spear. Yes, martyrs were made. But it was the love of Christ that conquered the Waodani. Fox’s Book of Martyrs
teaches that it was the martyrs of the great Roman
persecutions that eventually conquered the bloodthirsty Romans. Even Gibbon says the same (although disparagingly).
is the ultimate future I see, informed by the truth of Scripture. The
road may lie through the blood of the saints, but it is the Gospel: the
blood of the Lamb; and the preaching of it: the word of the testimony of
the saints; which will conquer the accuser of the brethren. For the saints loved not their lives even unto death. It is a future of hope, culminating with the return of the Lord Jesus in all His glory.