This is certainly not a world view that we hear every day.
Welcome to my first column
Posted: May 17, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jim Rutz
Let's start off with the biggest unknown fact of our time: The world is rapidly becoming all-Christian.
That's not theology or wishful thinking, just statistics. And the numbers are shouting at me. A billion people are going to switch their loyalties to Jesus in the next 11 or 12 years and that may be just the beginning. As you might guess, this megashift could play hob with the citadels of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. They might even hit a crashpoint.
It could also virtually wipe out secular humanism, the clueless corps of New-Agers, and the doomed hordes of post-modernists now wandering aimlessly about the wasteland of non-referential abstraction.
How do I reach such far-out conclusions? Am I as fringy as I sound? Let's consult the hard numbers. I'll start with the 20th century:
Do you detect a trend here? If so, congratulations, you're ahead of the New York Times, CNN and the massed legions of academe.
- In 1900, there were 2 million evangelical or charismatic Christians in Africa. By 2000, there were 200 million.
- In Latin America during that period, the born-again population zoomed from 1 million to 170 million.
- And in China, just since 1950, Christianity has exploded from fewer than a million to almost 120 million.
But you may be saying: "Aww, that growth all happened before the '60s, Jim. The world has gone to pot since then."
Ooh, are you wrong.
You've looked just at the Western church, and you've seen a lot of stagnant or shrinking elements (notably liberal Christianity, whose basic tenets are the opposite of the Bible). The liberal collapse has fogged up the whole picture.
Inhale deeply. You're about to see the true figures for the first time:
I have discovered that there is a definable core of the Christian faith that is growing at a white-hot pace – 8 percent a year. If that doesn't sound white-hot to you, consider these details:
(Many thanks to Todd Johnson, co-author of the standard work in the field, the 14-pound, hernia-inducing "World Christian Encyclopedia," backed by $1.1 billion of research. Dr. Johnson and an associate generously gave me hours of their time to search out and isolate this growing heart phenomenon.)
- This growing heart of the global church is a powerful mix of charismatics, Pentecostals, evangelicals, and a few Catholics. They are in countable networks. In 1970, there were 71 million of them. By 2000, there were 707 million.
- Now, straight-line projections are silly because nothing ever goes in a straight line. But just to give you a comically precise picture of our current momentum: At 8 percent growth a year, the world would have more Christians than people by the fall of 2032!
More: Up until 1960, Western evangelicals outnumbered non-Western evangelicals – mostly Latinos, blacks and Asians – by two to one. Ah, the bad old days. But as of 2000, non-Westerners had shot ahead by four to one. By 2010, it will be seven to one. (From Patrick Johnstone, "The Church Is Bigger Than You Think.") Remember that the next time you hear someone bad-mouth Christianity as the white man's religion.
Never before in history has such a large part of humanity changed its religious loyalties in one century. And it's happening by acclamation, not by force.
So what's going on? How could such a hurricane of change escape notice? What exactly is in back of all this?
Oh, sorry – I'm running out of room. I guess it will have to wait until next week.
But I promise you'll find the events behind my numbers far more astonishing than the numbers themselves. In fact, you'll quickly agree that this movement is going to be much bigger than the Reformation. Even bigger than Wal-Mart.
OK, stop grumbling, I'll give you a hint: My research for my new book, "Megashift," has found 52 countries where God has brought people back from the dead, mostly in the last 20 years. And these are not near-death experiences, where someone on an operating-room table passes out and sees himself going down a long tunnel. These are stone-dead corpses.
Also, for what it's worth, I have zero interest in flying saucers, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle, the anti-Christ, or the sexual preference of Spongebob Squarepants.
But I am seriously interested in a megashift so life-changing that it dwarfs anything ever seen on this warm green planet. And I think you'll get serious right along with me.
More next Tuesday.