China, according to the Telegraph, may very well be home to more Christians than any other country in the world by 2030. I know that seems like some futuristic date but hey, that’s only 15 years.
Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”
China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”
Currently, in China there’s the underground Catholic Church and the state approved Patriotic Church, which does not acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope. I pray for a time when the underground Church doesn’t need to be underground.
But these numbers do offer hope.
April 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Here in America we may soon have an underground church as well.
April 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm
my favorite line:
"….China's total Christian population, including Catholics…"
Im glad the Church Christ himself founded and the only Christian Church for 1500 years (some would say still the only…) was included in the 'Christian population' estimates. Uff Da!
April 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm
A generation ago the expression "Protestant" had a meaning; now it is irrelevant because the Reformation tradition, flawed as it was, possessed a core (think C. S. Lewis' MERE CHRISTIANITY) of unity and belief. That unity is gone; the population shift is to mega-personality cults and cowboy churches in which the amorphous teachings / moods / whims / fashions can vary from week-to-week depending on whether the pastor has had a successful bowel movement.
April 21, 2014 at 10:17 pm
Supposedly, martin luther's greatest "moments" of insights came to him when he was constipated, on the throne. Hours daily.
April 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm
Does the western world know how the chinese really live? Not all get to share in the new capitalism. We only see the very wealthy. And boy, they are here. We don't usually get to see the insult, destitution and hopelessness that drives factory workers to throw themselves out of their room windows. Where they are housed in stark, box like super structures in extremely poor conditions and work like slave labor.
20% of "all" arible land in China is contaminated with toxic heavy metal salts and chemicals. Causing ill health in adults, these tetragens may cause significant fetal abnormalities in children.
No wonder, in this valley of tears, Jesus turns out to be an authentic hope and an answer to prayers.
April 22, 2014 at 1:10 am
We already do.. They go to the 1800 year old, proper Mass.
April 22, 2014 at 3:19 am