by Dr. Dale Yerton
Finishing What Jesus Began
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.” (Acts 1:1)
In 1800, 75% of the world’s population had not heard the gospel. Today, less than 28% haven’t heard. That’s good progress. There remains much to be done, but Christianity is growing at an astonishing rate of 4.7% annually, which is much higher than other major religions.
Each day, 160,000 people hear the gospel for the first time. Every hour over 3,000 decides to follow Jesus Christ. This totals 72,000 new believers daily. Christianity has grown by 300 million believers in the last ten years.
But only ten million of these new believers are from the developed western nations, 290 million are from developing nations, like Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, and Mexico.
- In east India, 95% of Nagaland’s 3,000,000 people profess Christianity.
- 10,000 of them have committed to becoming missionaries to India.
- In 1980, there were only 75 known believers in Nepal.
- Today, there are over 500,000.
- In the 1970s, Uganda was under the control of a power-crazy leader named, Idi Amin. He was a Muslim who attempted to destroy Christianity from his country. It’s estimated between 100 to 500 thousand died because of his brutality. Today, over 90% of Uganda’s population professes Christianity.
In 1965 only 25% of Africa’s population professed to be Christian. In 2,000, the number had increased to over 46%. That’s an increase of over 84% in 35 years. By the late 1960s, Christianity overtook Islam for the first time in hundreds of years, to become the majority religion of the continent.
The Changing Global Religious World Map
If we were to choose one person who best represents what Christianity looks like in our world today, whom would we choose? It would not be a citizen of a western nation. No, the face of Christianity has changed, it would be a young peasant girl from Nigeria.
- She’d be young. The vast majority of those making decisions to follow Christ today are young. It has always been that way.
- She would have limited education. There are few resources for a good education in most nations experiencing a spiritual awakening.
- She’d be poor. The gospel has always worked best among the poor. Jesus said, “The poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5)
- She wouldn’t be white. First, most of the world isn’t white. Secondly, the global revival shaking our world is taking place in non-white nations.
- She’d probably be Spirit-filled.
Spirit-filled believers are increasing by 19 million per year. By 2050, government estimates say there will be over one billion Spirit-filled believers worldwide. 75% of all new believers in Latin America are spirit-filled. Spirit-filled believers are growing faster than any other religious group. Today, over 50% of Christians worldwide profess to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What has caused such rapid growth in a movement that has existed for just over 100 years?
The Redemptive Lift
It’s the lives that have been changed by the power of the gospel. The power of the gospel is displayed in its ability to improve the lives of people. In many of the rapidly growing cities of the world, the church is the new family. In many nations, there are more benefits from being a member of a church, than from being a citizen of that country. In many nations, the church has become the greatest change agent, in making their communities a better place to live.
This is the driving force behind the worldwide revival. Religion isn’t the opiate of the people. It is not a fantasy. People can see a relationship with Jesus Christ is the greatest power on earth to improve our lives. It changes us from the inside, and we learn to live a life that makes our world a better place.
They’ve Found Some Heaven to go to Heaven in!
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