Thursday, August 09, 2007

Completing the circle

This from China

Perhaps the most remarkable burst of religious energy is in China's Pentecostal Christian population. At the time of the Communist takeover in 1949, there were roughly 900,000 Protestants. Today, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, which puts out the much-consulted World Christian Database, says there are 111 million Christians in China, roughly 90 percent Protestant and mostly Pentecostal. That would make China the third-largest Christian country on earth, following only the United States and Brazil.

It is projected that by 2050, there will be 218 million Christians in China, 16 percent of the population, enough to make China the world's second-largest Christian nation. According to Chinese sources, there are 10,000 conversions in China every day.

With the abduction of South Korean Christians in Afghanistan and the murder of their leaders, we are perhaps seeing the same sort of martyrdom that characterized the early church and missionary activity ever since. Chinese Christians see it as completing the circle. They believe that Christianity has spread ever westwards. from Jerusalem to Europe, from Europe to America, from America to China and now from China back through Moslem lands to Jerusalem.

'Christianity is the great liquidator of traditional society, calling individuals out of their tribes and nations to join the ekklesia, which transcends race and nation' According to this source, it will not be secularism that breaks the grip of Islam on the middle east, but a resurgent Christianity emerging from the most populous land on the planet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One can only hope. I think the reason is two-fold. With China increasingly free of the bitter drive just to feed one's family, there is leisure time now, and with leisure comes the luxury of contemplation. Material success does not translate to inner satisfaction, nor does it give meaning to life.

Christians believe in a loving God, not a punitive God. Salvation can be gained by an acceptance of Christ as one's savior. Love is the most powerful force in the world and between people. This positive message is a balm to a troubled soul, more so than the nihilism of other religions, in my opinion.

Our church funds missionaries to China and to Africa, two areas of great growth in the Protestant church.