Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Holy Fire

By Dan Jones

I continue to be amazed by Christianity outside the United States.

As I wrote last week and a month ago, the Holy Spirit is indeed moving and active in the majority of the world and the fire of our all-consuming God has most assuredly not gone out.

To borrow from C.S. Lewis, God is on the move.

Here are some quick figures for you to consider:

Latin America is currently about 90% Christian and experiencing a revival of the works of the Holy Spirit. That’s over 564 million Christians, or more than double the 247 million in the U.S.

Africa has 380 million Christians and that number is rapidly growing.

The Philippines are 90% Christian, making it the fifth-largest Christian nation in the world and adding another 86 million souls to the total.

Russia’s number of Christians is hard to accurately assess, but it’s reasonable to estimate 67 million, or just under half the Russian population is Christian-- and there are reports of revival brewing there also.

China, the land of almost 1.4 billion people, is even harder to assess for numbers of Christians because many of the brothers and sisters are affiliated with underground churches. A good guess is about 67 million and growing rapidly. Obviously, the potential here is huge.

And, many people don’t realize it, but India’s population is very close to China’s at 1.25 billion. Although currently a very small number in proportion, the 24 million Christians there are also rapidly growing and this has led to some conjecture that India may be the fastest-growing place for the Gospel in the world.

Mexico has 113.5 million believers and is 93% Christian.

Romania, Greece, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru, Guatemala, Poland, Ecuador, and Columbia, are all more than 92% Christian and have over 11 million believers each.

In total, Christians represent the majority in 126 countries and the minority in 71.
All-in-all, if you are a Christian, you have 2.4 billion brothers and sisters in Christ in this world.

And here’s the deal:  The projections are that by 2050, there will be three billion Christians in this world, or one and one-half times the number of Muslims.

But the part that our western egos might find hard to fathom is that the “typical Christian” at that time will probably be Nigerian or Brazilian—and far more conservative, theologically and morally, than their counterparts in the “western world.”

Despite those who espouse compromising Biblical orthodoxy to be “inclusive” and “tolerant,” it is adherence to the Word of God that is growing the church in the rest of the world.  The growth of the Church of Jesus is not taking place at the feet of a watered-down, lukewarm Jesus.

The fire of the Holy Spirit is living and active in these countries. These are not believers who keep their light under a basket, but actively share it. Research by the Pew Research 
Center finds that between 25 to 50% of believers in Latin American countries are likely to share their faith at least once a week.

In contrast, research by the Barna group found that about 50% of American Christians who believe they should share the Gospel with another person have not done so in the past year.

It’s no wonder that some church officials outside the “western world” are already talking about training missionaries to send here to reconvert us to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I pray if the Lord does send them, He will grant us the humility to receive them with repentant hearts.

Today’s Praise

For this is what the high and exalted One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.--Isaiah 57:15 NIV

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