Relaymedia

The Global South Experiences Massive Growth

Christianity relocates from the West to the South
( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2004 02:17 PM EST

While the West is experiencing a decrease in Christianity due to the rising New Age spirituality as well as secularism, the "Global South" -- Africa, Latin America, and Asia -- shows promising signs of growth in the Christian faith. It is predicted that the South could become the new home of Christianity in the next 50 years.

"We are currently living through one of the transforming moments in the history of religion worldwide...The era of Western Christianity has passed within our lifetimes, and the day of Southern Christianity is dawning," stated Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University.

"What many pundits thought was the death of the church in the 1960s through secularization was really its relocation and rebirth into the rest of the world," said Mark Hutchinson, chairman of the church history department at Southern Cross College, Australia.

Numbers show the staggering growth of Christians within the South. In 1900, Africa had an estimated number of 10 million Christians.

After 100 years, the number shot up to 360 million. Through a research done by David Barrett, author of World Christian Encyclopedia, 8.4 million Africans convert to Christianity each year.

In addition to Africa, South Korea is also experiencing such high numbers of growth. In 1920, Korea only had 300,000 Christians, but now there are currently 10 to 12 million believers within South Korea only.


"And it is not modernist, liberal Christianity that is sweeping through the Southern Hemisphere, but a Christianity in which the gospel is proclaimed, that believes God's Word, that refuses to conform to the world," said Veith.

In the U.S., members of the Anglican Communion has dropped down to 2.3 million. However, there proves to be over 8 million Anglicans in Uganda.

Evangelical Christians prevail in the Christian community yet only 30 percent of them live in the West.

"For over a century, the coming decline or disappearance of religion has been a commonplace assumption of Western thought, and church leaders have somtimes shared this pessimistic view," stated Jenkins.

Since Christianity proved to be mainly a religion for the "White nations," "the growing secularization of the West [could] only mean that Christianity is in its dying days," said Jenkins.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times commented, "Europe already seems more and more like a series of tourist-trod monuments to Christianity's past. Hardly a month goes by when [Pope John Paul II] does not publicly bemoan that fact, beseeching Europeans to rediscover their faith."

"In Western Europe, we are hanging on by our fingernails. The fact is that Europe is no longer Christian," stated Rev. Daivd Cornick, general secretary of the United Reformed Church in Britain.

Shown by a survey conducted in Europe, the number of people who attend church has declined greatly. In England, 27 percent of the population go to Sunday worship and in Sweden, a mere 4 percent attend church.

Although secularism proves to be one of the major factors in the falling Christian faith, Gene Edward Veith, culture critic of World Magazine, said, "This decline is directly attributable to the theological liberalism of the once-powerful state churches." He claims the churches to cause this decrease in Christianity as well.

Despite this drop in the West, the "Global South" has gained greater numbers of believers. "The growth of Christianity in the last two decades has been nothing short of miraculours," said Elisabeth Farrell, co-author of China: The Hidden Miracle.