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Positive Trends in Worldwide Christianity

Christianity is growing, not shrinking.

There has been much discussion about the deterioration in church attendance, the disassociation of congregations from denominations, the weakening of Biblical Christian theology, and moral decay in America, trending over the last few decades. However, God is not focused on a single country or people group, and it is time both those with a Biblical Christian worldview, as well as those who attempt to marginalize our influence, view Christians from a broader geographical context. 

Lifeway Research published the results of a study conducted in late 2023, viewing positive trends in worldwide Christianity (see details here). They summarized the findings by way of the following headline:

“Even if many U.S. churches are facing challenges, global Christianity is advancing in ways previous generations could have only imagined.”

Referencing trends since 1900, from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (details here), the following results were identified.

  • Religious adherents are growing 2.5 times as fast as the non-religious.
  • Christianity continues to grow (1.18%/year). And within this group…
    • Catholics (1.26 billion) are the largest subset but with the slowest growth rate.
    • Evangelicals (1.79%/year) and Pentecostals (1.88%/year) are the fastest growing.
    • Countries with the highest growth are Asia (1.62%/year) and Africa (2.76%/year)
  • Due to the spread of Christianity to previously non-Christian countries…
    • Non-Christians continue to be increasingly likely to know a Christian.
    • Increasingly more people, (as a percentage of the world’s population), have heard the gospel.
  • As the world’s population is growing more literate, and the Bible is being translated into more languages, more people have access to Scripture than in the past. Ninety-five million copies were printed in 2023 alone. 

Americans need to be careful when looking myopically at only the U.S. in determining the state of Biblical Christianity. We need to focus more broadly on what God is doing throughout the world.

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AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

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