Early this week I uploaded Episode Three in the AIC Christian Education video series, The War on Christianity. Episode Three is Part Two (of Two) in A Summary History of the Church from Pentecost Until Now. The episode takes up the narrative with the story of the Church in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Western Hemisphere, plus Asia and the Pacific Islands; a quick summary of the impact of the Protestant Reformation, English Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation; and the growth of new denominations around the world. The final one-third of the episode is focused on a census of the Christian population worldwide, as of 2010 A.D., and discussion of that population, region-by-region, with emphasis on where the largest concentrations of Christian populations exist.
Given the media’s lack of attention to actual facts versus opinions, two such actual facts pointed out in Episode Three may surprise many readers.
First, if we exclude Russia, which is not really European, from the census for Europe, there are far more Christians, by a large margin, in the United States (246,780,000), Brazil (175,770,000), Mexico (107,780,000), the Philippines (89,790,000) and Nigeria (80,510,000) than in any country in Europe. To be fair, the census estimate says that Russia is home to 105,220,000 Christians.
Second, a fact extrapolated from the data, there are almost twice as many Christians in Nigeria as there are in the United Kingdom, the home country of the Church of England, and the Protestant population in the home country of Martin Luther has declined, in percentage terms, by approximately 30% since the start of World War II, while the Roman Catholic population (again, as a percentage) has remained largely unchanged during the same time frame. During the balance of the series I intend to discuss the implications of this data.
[Data Source: Regional Distribution of Christians, Pew Research Center, December 19, 2011 A.D. http://www.PewForum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions]
Next time, in Episode Four, I will discuss Three Case Studies of regions in which Christianity has been marginalized in both absolute and percentage terms: the Holy Land (or Middle East), North Africa, and Asia Minor, the latter being the region in which the greatest growth of the early Church happened.
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