The top 20 countries where Christianity is growing the fastest

20 Countries where Christianity growing fastest

I’ve just stumbled on this report from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity.

They identified the top 20 countries that have the highest percentage Christianity Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR). The number of years for the number of Christians to double, based on the Average Annual Growth Rate has also been calculated.

Top 20 countries where Christianity is growing fastest  table 

Notice a few things:

  • 19 of the countries in the top 20 are in Asia and Africa.
  • 11 countries on the top 20 list are Muslim majority countries.
  • not a single country from Europe, Northern America or Latin America makes the top 20 list
  • the highest Christian growth rates are found among all major non-Christian religious groups: Hindus, Non-Religious, Buddhists, Muslims and Ethno-religionists (Benin and South Sudan)?
  • the majority of the top 20 countries are clustered in three areas: Eastern Asia, Western Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
I’m amazed by the figures out of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain,Yemen and Kuwait. Obviously the percentage increase is off a small base. Does anyone know if this growth is among Arabs or is it among migrant workers? 
An interesting omission is Iran. I keep hearing stories of Iranians coming to Christ both in Iran and among the Iranian diaspora. Perhaps the growth has picked up since the report was written.
There is also some amazing growth among the people of north India. I’d like to see a list of the top 50 countries.
(Thanks to Grant Morrison for the heads up.)
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Tomas for providing this link to more details from the report. Table 3 shows the impact of immigration on the growth of Christianity in Arab Muslim countries. So some good news, but the figures look much better than they are. 

Tony Campolo comes out in favour of same-sex marriage

Tony campolo 3

Tony Campolo becomes the latest in a long line of cultural evangelicals to come out in favour of same-sex marriage.

According to Carl Trueman

What is surprising in the statement is the complete absence of any thoughtful argumentation in his articulation of his position. Though he professes to have heard every kind of biblical argument against same-sex marriage, he does not burden the reader with any of these, or why he has found them so lacking. Instead, he prefers to use straw men, false dichotomies, and the rhetoric of social science to present his case.

keep reading >>

Theological liberalism is decaying, long-live progressive evangelicalism.

This is folly. Jesus was clear. Scripture is clear. No amount of postmodern creativity and reimagining can substitute for obedience no matter what the culture demands of us.

From a movements perspective there is no other future for Tony Campalo and friends than spiritual impotency.

UPDATE: Mark Galli responds on behalf of Christianity Today.

The price they paid

Destroy the old world Cultural Revolution poster

In all the excitement of what God is doing in China today, let’s not forget the price that was paid by both Western missionary pioneers and Chinese believers.

According to Stark and Wang…

Nearly half of all Protestant missionaries who came to China before 1891 died or went home due to ill health. Infant and childhood mortality rates were three times higher than back home.

In 1899 the Boxer Rebellion resulted in the death of over 30,000 Chinese Christians as well as 47 Catholic priests and nuns and 136 Protestant missionaries and 53 of the children.

Even before they came to power, the Communists were killing Christians. Between 1945-48 Chinese Communist forces killed 96 Catholic missionaries including 12 nuns. Once they were in power the Communists continued to imprison, torture and kill Catholic believers, priests, nuns and bishops.

Most well-known Chinese church leaders ended up in prison or worse.

Watchman Nee was arrested in 1952 and spent the rest of his life in prison under harsh conditions. He died in prison 1972.

Wang Zhiming was arrested with his wife and three sons at the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1969. On December 29, 1973 Wang was brutally executed in a stadium in Wuding in front of a crowd of 10,000, most of them Christians.

Samual Lamb was imprisoned in 1957 and released. Immediately he began preaching again. He was re-arrested in 1958 and imprisoned until 1978 under harsh conditions. Upon his release he restarted his “house church” although now it could no longer fit inside a house as it had grown to 4-5,000 people.

In 2001 fifty agents of the Public Security Bureau invaded Samuel Lamb’s unregistered church, ransacking the building and destroying equipment. Lamb was imprisoned again. He refused to relent and was released after international pressure.

As so many Christian leaders were dead or in prison Li Tianen devoted himself to training young leaders. Out of his efforts arose the Fangcheng Fellowship which become one of the largest of all house church movements in China.

In 1975 he was arrested and given a death sentence. A huge flood forced the postponement of his first scheduled execution. The second execution date was interrupted by an internal Communist Party power struggle. One of Li’s most bitter enemies was the local secretary of the Communist Party, Fang Iancai. Fang’s faction lost power and he ended up sharing Li’s death row cell. Li led Fang to Christ. Li eventually was released and Fang’s sentence was commuted to 15 years in prison.

By 2010 the Fangcheng Fellowship had an estimated membership of 10 million.

Other leaders who suffered under the Communists include Wang Mindao, Yuan Xiangchen, John Sung, Li Tianen. These prominent leaders are a tiny representation of the many thousands of ordinary believers who suffered for Christ under the Communists.

The Book that Made Your World: 99c on US Kindle

From  Bill Muehlenberg’s review:

The broad-brush thesis of this book is this: without the Judeo-Christian worldview, there would be no Western civilisation as we know it. The Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament have contributed more to the development of the West than any other single factor.

In over 400 information-rich pages the Indian-born scholar documents how the Bible directly and profoundly contributed to the rise of the West. And not only has the West benefited immeasurably – so too has the rest of the world. Indeed, he argues that the “Bible was the force that created modern India” as well.

Of course this thesis is not new. One thinks of the recent works by Rodney Stark, Jonathan Hill, or Alvin Schmidt. Also recall the two volumes by D. James Kennedy: What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? (1994) and What if the Bible Had Never Been Written? (1998).

But here we have a masterful presentation of the data in a finely written and cogently argued volume. As Mangalwadi reminds us, the Bible first of all transforms individual human beings, who in turn transform entire nations. In every area of life we see this remarkable record of personal and social transformation.

keep reading…

“The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization” (Vishal Mangalwadi)

Check out NoPlaceLeft

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I don’t have time to read many blogs. But I subscribe to this one.

The NoPlaceLeft Facebook group is also worth joining. Some great guys hang out there and are available to answer questions and share ideas.

NoPlaceLeft videos here.

Christianity in China — a few facts and some surprises

Stark Wang

Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang

A few interesting and occasionally surprising facts from A Star in the East by Stark and Wang:

  • Christianity is growing everywhere in China. Christianity is growing just as fast in the cities as in the rural districts.
  • There is a prevalence of well-educated Chinese among urban Christians in China.
  • The more affluent rural Chinese are more likely to convert.
  • The middle-aged are more likely to convert than the young or elderly.
  • Most rural Chines were introduced to Christianity by their family, friends and neighbours. In one study 90% of people had their initial contact with Christianity through interpersonal ties.
  • Christians are significantly more likely than other Chinese to say they are “very happy”—44% compared to 34%.
  • A substantial number of Communist Party members are Christians.
  • We should expect the spread of Christianity among the Chinese to substantially improve their physical and mental health. Backed up by this study from Peking University.

Disicpleship — the DNA of a movement [video]

How you disciple the first new believer will determine whether you’ll ever see a disciple making movement.

Neil Cole

It’s all in the DNA.

Nathan Shank is a movement catalyst. In this video he shows how to disciple that first or next new believer.

More on the Four Fields…

It seems God can be outvoted


Matthew Parris, a gay atheist, pleads with Christians to stand up for what the Bible teaches on sex and marriage:

I see. So now we have the result of the Irish referendum on gay marriage, and now we’ve heard the Roman Catholic Church’s chastened response, we shall have to rewrite Exodus 32, which (you may remember) reports Moses’ (and God’s) furious reaction to the nude dancing and heretical worship of Moloch in the form of a golden calf: the Sin of the Calf in the Hebrew literature. Moses had come down from Mount Sinai bringing God’s commandments written on two tablets of stone.

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot…

And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

Let me have a crack at the revised version right away:

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the Irish referendum’s huge majority for gay marriage, and the dancing: and Moses’ alarm was palpable…

And he took a copy of the Pink Paper and, flourishing it, said, ‘We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities.

‘I appreciate how these naked revellers feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution.

‘We need to find a new language to connect with a whole generation of young people,’ the prophet concluded; then, casting off his garments, Moses said, ‘Hey, lead me to the coolest gay bar in the camp.’

keep reading…

Movements die when no one is committed to the cause anymore.

UPDATE: At least one Australian campaigner is saying the battle over same sex-marriage is just the beginning. The real fight will not be over until marriage as we know it is destroyed. Now let’s see if we can conjure up support from Scripture and the teaching of Jesus for polyamorous relationships.

UPDATE: The Prospects for Polygamy.

Pioneering Movements: Leadership That Multiplies Disciples and Churches

My next book is on Movement Leadership. It has just gone up on Amazon for pre-purchase. It is due out on December 6.

“Pioneering Movements: Leadership That Multiplies Disciples and Churches” (Steve Addison)


Nathan Shank on The Four Fields [podcast]

Four Fields - Nathan Shank

Nathan Shank is a catalyst for multiplying movements of disciples and churches. In the Four Fields he provides an overview of the principles and practices of a multiplying movement.

Download the Four Fields manual.