Christianity is exploding around the world, but nowhere like in Africa, where the population of Christians is now the largest in the world, surpassing Latin America:
Recent data reveals that for the first time, Africa is now home to the most number of Christians in the world. Latin America held that title previously.
An infographic provided by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary shows that more than 631 million Christians currently reside in Africa and they make up 45 percent of the population.
Latin America is, meanwhile, estimated to have 601 million Christians. Though a smaller number compared to Africa, they make up the majority of the continent at 92 percent.
According to CBS News, Zambia is the African nation with the highest percentage of Christian residents, with around 95.5 percent of the people living there following the religion.
Following not too far behind Zambia on the list of African nations with the highest percentage of Christian residents is the Republic of Seychelles, where 94.7 percent hold Christian beliefs.
Third is Rwanda.
Last year, a study conducted by the center revealed that more than 582 million Christians were living in Africa. Only the continent of Latin America managed to outrank Africa in terms of number of Christian residents in 2017. Back then, Latin America was home to 591 million Christians.
Third on the list of the continents with the most Christians in 2018 is Europe at 571 million, making up 77 percent of the population. In fourth place is Asia with 388 million Christians, though they only make up nine percent of the continent’s population.
Asia is also the only continent where the number of Christian residents from 2017 to 2018 did not increase significantly.
North America is fifth with 277 million Christians who make up 76 percent of the continent’s population.
Lastly, Oceania has 29 million Christians, which accounts for 71 percent of the people living there.
According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, data was obtained from the World Christian Database and “Christians” include Catholics, Protestants, Independents and Orthodox. Excluded are “unaffiliated” Christians and “double-counted.”
Catholics have the highest percentage of followers worldwide (49 percent of Christians), followed by Protestants (22 percent), Independents (17 percent), and Orthodox (12 percent).
As of 2015, Christianity is still the world’s largest religion, according to the Pew Research Center. Christians make up 31 percent of the world’s entire population and that translates to 2.3 billion people.
1.8 billion people in the world are Muslims, while 1.1 billion people follow Hinduism.
1.2 billion people are not affiliated with any specific religion, according to the study. (source)
This is a great thing to hear that Christianity is overtaking Africa and bringing the peoples of the continent to the light of the Gospel. It is also something that should be of grave concern to Christians because it is a sign that, to quote an often used phrase, “the end is near.”
Jesus says (Matthew 24:14) that the Gospel must be preached to the entire Earth, and having been preached to the whole world, will be when the end of all things will come.
Jesus did not say that the entire world would accept Him. What He said was that the Gospel would be preached. This means that people would be aware of who Jesus is and have heard His message, thus giving them the opportunity to, at the very least, consider whether or not to listen to Him.
There is nobody, or if not nobody, almost nobody who has not heard of Jesus. I say this in the literal sense, and they know Him better than ever before in history, and this is for one reason:
Walk into any Walmart anywhere in the USA, and you will find for sale and entire range of smartphones, from the newest IPhone selling for $800 USD to a $25 Smartphone with any number of plans to fit your needs. The smartphone, which was based on military technology, is a miracle of the modern world because due to the ability of mobile networks to cover the world’s remotest spaces and how each phone it itself a small computer many thousands of times faster and more powerful than the computers of the Second World War, which took up entire buildings for their operation, the phone is more than just a device for talking and communication, but a way for uniting people wherever they may be in a physical sense and connecting them to the entire world.
Take for example four people- a man in the deepest jungles of the Congo, a Yakutian woman living in the remotest parts of Siberia, a tribesman from Brazil in the most remote parts of the Amazon, and a man somewhere in the remotest islands of the South Pacific. They may all be poor, speak different languages, and never met each other, but given that 4 billion people at least use the Internet, there is not a person in the world who does not know somebody who does not use it or have a smartphone. If none of these people mentioned already have a phone or use the Internet, they know somebody who does, and through it they are able to hear and read, in their own language, the saving message of the Gospel.
The wondrous technology that has united and continues to bind the human race ever closer together is wonderful, but it also brings with it a great measure of accountability and if one chooses not to care, a terrifying culpability.
In the past, a man could use ignorance as a legitimate excuse for why he did not know about something, or why he made a certain error. This is understandable, because if one does not know something and neither does he have the ability to know, how can he be expected to be held responsible?
But the Internet has changed all of this. Some people have said that the world is in the midst of another great revolution, a “fourth turning,” where supertechnology and data management are redefining human life and economic systems, holding within them the power to topple governments and invert the social order in ways not seen since the days of the Industrial Revolution and with far broader impacts over a shorter period of time.
Gone are the days when somebody could say “well I did not know that,” because with the click of a few keys anybody, from the most ambitious man to the couch potato with Chee-tos stains on his shirt who can barely walk on account of his massive physical size caused by overeating and refusal to exercise, has the ability to access the world of information, to travel and see places and communicate with people from any location, anywhere, at any time.
Do you want to travel around the world but cannot? Youtube and Google Street View will show you videos and even an “on the ground” view of many remote areas as though you were walking through them.
Do you want to learn a skill? There are countless free courses from everything from training schools to major universities to start with.
Do you want to read a book? You can read anything, from ancient manuscripts to modern books with a simple button press.
Do you need a personal organizer? Just look at all the options which programs like Google Tools have.
There is no limit to the possibilities.
There is also no limit to the culpability.
The Internet is beautiful. However, it also brings with it a great deal of responsibility. The greatest responsibility, as the Baltimore Catechism states, is to know who God is, what man is, what man’s purpose is, and how man is to fulfill his purpose before God, and the answer is that God is the creator of all things, man is a creature just a little higher than the animals and a little lower than the angels who is made in the image and likeness of God, man’s purpose is to know, love, and serve the Lord, to be content with Him in this life and forever happy with Him in the next.
The smartphone has enabled everybody, even in the remotest corners of the Earth, to be exposed to the Gospel message.
Am I saying the end is nigh?
What I am saying is that we are at a unique crossroads in human history, where the words of the Gospel appear to be being fulfilled before our eyes in ways that we may not even expect, such as where Africa, once said to be the land of paganism where mission work goes to die, is now the most Christian place on the Earth.
As always, keep an extra flask of oil with the lantern, because as the darkness of a new paganism revives, as the Gospel message continues to be preached and yet be rejected, scorned, and suppressed with more systematic and final means, it only hastens that which Christ warned about.
Be ready, know your faith, and in a time when such great tools are available to spread the Gospel as well as to educate yourself, learn as much as you can and then pass it on. There has never been a time in history where information was so readily accessible as today.
Watch, pray, and be ready, because, as Jesus asked with sincerity, when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?