Why So Many?
Why so many? My question probably appears ludicrous to you. You and I here in America are seeing local churches and whole denominations implode. However, that is not what I want to focus on. If we look beyond our country, the Church is bigger and healthier than we may think.
America is no longer the epicenter of Christianity that it once held for so many years – that’s okay, but it’s not okay. This may surprise you but the place where there are the most Christians is the continent of Africa. As of 2017, Africa had 631 million Christians, Latin America had 601 million, and Europe had 571 million.
Worldwide, there are an estimated 2.3 billion Christians, followed closely behind by Islam with 1.9 billion, and Hinduism with 1.2 billion. Of course, we know that God works with remnants. Many people claim to be Christian because their family has “always been Christian” or their “country” is Christian. Also, there are many sincere Christians that have never received any cohesive, consistent Christian education – missionaries are needed!
Okay, I have provided the numbers, but how did Christianity become the largest religion in the world? That is what I want us to look at over the next few blogs.
One Reason for “Why So Many”
Why so many? Since Africa has the most Christians, let’s first look for the answer there. There is a fascinating website titled, “The Gospel Coalition Africa” that is an African outreach ministry, by Africans. One ministry on the site is titled, “Ask an African Pastor.” It is fascinating and clearly ministers to many people. To provide some context, here’s a quote from their “About” page:
The Council of the Gospel Coalition Africa is a collection of pastors and qualified elders who provide direction and leadership to TGC Africa. They meet annually for fellowship, discussion, planning, accountability, and prayer around the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Aiming to bring biblical conviction and pastoral sensitivity to bear on a range of pressing contemporary issues, the Council is committed to shepherding the next generation of church leaders in line with TGC Africa’s foundation documents.
A Powerful Example of Why
And here are a few excerpts from a great testimony by “Proud Mpofu” titled, Learning to Love those I Hated.
“I grew up in Zim. I am one of a minority tribe which is called the BaKalanga. So, as I grew up I felt like my tribe was oppressed, so to say… I grew angry because of that. Because I felt ‘we need to fight back!’
“When I came to South Africa I came to Christ Church Midrand and started to read the Bible and I came to understand how God loved us to the extent that he sent His only son to die for us.”
“The Christian message, I mean it humbled me to understand that I’m a sinner who was saved by grace…You can’t go and take revenge because revenge will never pay you anything. But we need to understand, those people, we think they hate us, but God loves them! And they also deserve love from us. And so the Bible is just clear – we need to love each other. No one is better. We are all sinners. And we will never address any social issue without loving those people who are around us. And that message is just amazing”
It Just Takes 3
- A spiritually lost person
- A person that will tell the Good News of Jesus
- A church that is committed to correctly teaching the Whole Bible
That is how so many people in the world have been saved and have grown to be fruitful, loving Christians. It just takes 3. That is what we need to remind ourselves of.
Jesus expects each of us to give all of our life to Him, but He has not made it complicated for us to be “fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).” Here’s how it works: A person in need hears the Gospel of Jesus and a local church comes along side them. The result is growth. The lost are saved, the fishers of men become more effective, the local church becomes healthier, also the regional and national conference or denomination is edified. It is not difficult. It just takes 3.
Next time, in this new series, we travel back to the primitive Church, to the first years of the Bride of Christ, to see how an empire was upended and the whole world changed by God working through Christians to deliver the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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