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  • Nope, Nope, Nope — The Church Around the World Is NOT Declining

    Daily Surge Summary: Contrary to what so many would have people believe, the Christian church around the world is moving forward, not retreating. 

    Always. Be. Suspicious. About. Anything. You. Read/Hear. From. Mainstream. Media.

    Here’s one reminder why …

    During a recent foray into a remote Guatemalan region, specifically the village of Sunsapote, Christian author Lee Grady was moved powerfully during “an impromptu worship service under a tree”, realizing afresh “how God cares about the people and places we typically ignore.

    There was nothing impressive about this moment, [writes Grady], at least by the world’s standards. Most of the people there were single mothers with children. All of them live below poverty level.

    Yet … the award-winning journalist found himself rejoicing

    that [he] could see with [his] own eyes how the gospel is spreading—slow and steady—in a time when skeptics claim that Christianity is fading.

    It’s fashionable in American today to bash Christians. The mainstream media insists that faith is irrelevant and that churches will soon go the way of eight-track tape players. But the facts say otherwise. Christian faith is growing, especially in the developing world.

    Grady stresses, in Guatemala, which he has visited more than ten times

    [i]n 1991, about 19 percent of the population attended evangelical churches. Today that number has grown to as much as 30 percent. Almost every time I’ve visited, I’ve been a part of a dedication service for a new church.

    And it’s not just in Central America that God is moving, His Kingdom increasing:

    Africa? “Christianity has grown from 10 percent of the population to 25 percent.”

    Asia?

    [The] Christian population is expected to grow from 350 million to 460 million by the year 2025, based on current growth rates. It is estimated that more people in China attend church on any given Sunday than in the United States.

    No, you didn’t misread that. Stratospheric church growth in China (!) is anticipated from current trends.

    Iran? It’s experiencing

    an unusual visitation of the Holy Spirit today. One ministry reports that it receives more than 700 requests for information about Jesus from Iranians every day.

    Yes, persecution in the Islamic Republic is focused and fierce – but an underground house church movement is also sweeping across the Iranian people.

    In another historically Muslim-majority country, Algeria, a similar house church movement is a-foot.

    After the government recently closed 11 churches, an Algerian pastor told reporters: “The more problems the church faces, the stronger it grows.”

    We often hear dire warnings that Christianity in America is in decline. But a recent study throws that theory into question. While noting that many mainline churches are closing their doors, the report by Harvard University and Indiana University says the number of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily and read the Bible regularly are actually steady.

    Mainline denominations? In trouble, no denying.

    Even so, that same study demonstrated that evangelicals have grown from 1972 — then a mere 18 percent of the population — to roughly 28 percent from the late 1980s to 2016. Over the same frame, mainline churches shriveled from 35 to 12 percent.

    Religion in America, the Harvard study says, enjoys “persistent and exceptional intensity.”

    Glenn Stanton, the author of an important new book, The Myth of the Dying Church (Hachette) is

    full of hope that Christian faith, regardless of how it is persecuted by dictators, maligned by the media or misrepresented by churchgoers themselves, is still moving forward. Says Stanton: “The bottom line is this: faithful Christianity—that which takes the Bible at its word, believes Jesus really is God, that He died on a real cross, rose from a real grave and offers real freedom from real sin to all who ask — is doing quite well.”

    Grady points out this dynamic tracks strikingly with the words of Christ Himself: His kingdom is like the humble mustard seed – small by comparison to others things but “when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matt. 13:32, NASB).

    What we do for the Lord will not impress the world. Our steps are small, our progress seems slow and our seeds are tiny. But you can take courage. In the end, those who mock God will be surprised when they see the size and the impact of the final global harvest.

    Amen, Lord. So be it.

    Image: Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay 

    The views expressed here are the author’s and not necessarily those of Daily Surge.


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