What About America?

One of the greatest books I've ever read about the state of Christianity around the world is The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins, in which he describes the gargantuan shift of Christianity from the global North to the global South.

It's so easy to base our view of God on what we see from Christians locally.  Our local church or the few Christians we know become our definition of the Body of Christ and of what Christianity looks like.  This should not be so.  Such a narrow perspective reminds me of King George 3rd who wrote in his journal on July 4th, 1776, "nothing of importance happened today."  Of course, something of massive importance had happened that very day, but he limited his view locally and missed one of the most historic days in the history of the world, right under his nose.

 

What am I getting to?  While Christianity is losing traction in the Western world, it is quite literally exploding in various parts of the world.  Statistics show Christianity is growing 3x's the rate of the world's population.  In America only it is decreasing.  Christianity is growing so fast in countries like Nigeria that in just a few decades it has grown from just 10% of the population to nearly 60%.  Pentecostal Christians in Columbia alone outnumber the Mormon religion worldwide.  My older brother Jon had the chance to visit a church in Bogata in which the youth group of over 70,000 youth meets in a soccer stadium every week, with hardly a building large enough to contain them.  In Seoul, South Korea today sits the largest church in the history of the world - nearly a million members.  In Africa, one evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke in 2001, led over a million and a quarter people to Christ one night, one single altar call.  In Argentina, one evangelist, Carlos Annacondia, has led millions of people to Christ in his country alone over the past three decades.  The average size of an evangelical church in Argentina used to be 7 people, while now multitudes of churches are 20, 30 or even 50 thousands members strong.  Experiencing what Argentina has gone through would be sort of like an entire state coming to church together every week. In China, under the auspices of a closed government, the underground, house church movement has grown so fast staticians can hardly keep up.  Now estimated that the Christian population is equal to about 1/4 of the US population, China's Christian zeal rivals that of the US.  Tens of thousands of missionaries are in training for a movement called back to Jerusalem, in which Chinese evangelists will walk from Bejing to Jerusalem sharing the Gospel with everyone they meet.  The requirements to join this movement: 1. You must be willing to never see your family again.  2. You must be ready to die at any time for Christ.

 

It's great to hear that God is moving, but it should also give rise to a holy indignation for our own land.  Who will rise up?  Who will take hold of the promises of God for our generation in America today?!