Most of these claims are blatantly spurious. We must recognize, however, that truth is complex.
I was told early in my schooling that water conducts electricity. ‘That’s why,’ declared my teacher, ‘you should be careful about water on laundry floors.’ Years later I was taught that water does not conduct electricity, it is only the impurities in water that allow conduction. Still later I learnt that water does conduct electricity, it is just that it does not conduct it very much. Truth is indeed complex, and in the Bible God has entrusted us with spiritual truth in all its complexity.
In 1430 one in 99 of the world’s population were Christians.
In 1790 one in 49
In 1940 one in 32
In 1970 one in 19
In 1980 one in 16
In 1983 one in 13
In 1986 one in 11
In 1994 one in 10
In the period 1934-1994, the number of Christians in the world increased by 1300 percent (from 40 million to 540 million in the last 60 years), while the world’s population grew only 400 percent. Reference
For a different view from an authoritative secular source, see Truth, Stranger than Fiction.
Worldwide, authentic conversions to genuine Christianity (as contrasted with nominal Christianity) are snowballing to such a degree that space allows just a few highlights.
In our century, Communism pronounced the death sentence upon Christianity. In so many parts of eastern Europe where the atheistic experiment was relentlessly and violently enforced, Communism is in deep trouble and Christianity is thriving.
In Communist China, in the face of sometimes terrifying Government opposition, people are committing themselves to a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ at a rate averaging about 28,000 new converts a day. This is happening in the home of yin and yang and other anti-Christian concepts and practices admired by New Agers. In this nation steeped for thousands of years in non-Christian religion, then mercilessly indoctrinated into atheism, so many millions of Chinese have turned their back on all that and become born again Christians that it is now thought the figure totals a staggering 80 million Chinese. (Some researchers put the figure at 100 million.) For that many million to take such a step in an environment hostile both to religion and to anything thought to be foreign, they must have discovered something very real and powerful.
In Africa, the number who follow Christ has risen from 3% in 1900 to a present figure of 45%.
Over the last few decades, South Koreans have been flocking to Jesus by the millions. In response, the UN has officially reclassified as a Christian nation this one-time Buddhist stronghold.
Worldwide, people are surrendering their lives to Jesus at an astounding average of nearly a million converts per week.
On the decline? You must be joking! It is estimated that of every genuine Christian since the first century, 70% came to Christ after 1900. Of these, 70% had their life-transforming encounter with Jesus since World War II. And of them, 70% became Christians in the last 4-5 years.
After surveying the entire world, Ralph Winter in 1988 identified 18,000 people groups that did not have sufficient numbers of committed Christians to remain strong and convert other members of their people group without foreign assistance. In 1998 this figure has shrunk to a mere 10% (1,736) of what it had been just ten years earlier! These astounding figures were not wild guesses to impress skeptics, but were meticulously collected to guide thousands of Christian missionaries as to where they should target their efforts.
A different view: The Bible affirms that at the name of Jesus every human and god and demon and force will bow. Jesus’ position of head of the universe was confirmed by what happened to his blood drained corpse, entombed, tied up with cloth, weighed down with spices, its vital organs ripped apart by a spear. That mutilated carcass sprang to life again. And his uniqueness has been put to the test by missionaries penetrating every conceivable religion with the never-ending power of Jesus and by Christian converts from all manner of beliefs who through Christ have been delivered from atheism, Satanism, demon possession, curses, bondage to lust, drugs, alcohol and so on.
Is Christianity old fashioned? Continue to find out . . .
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Christianity is out of date
Ancient Greeks believed the world was round. In the third century BC Eratosthenes even calculated the earth’s circumference. Yet this belief eventually fell out of favor and remained unpopular for centuries until scientific advance rendered the belief fashionable again. But fashion never changed the shape of the earth. Neither can fashion change our spiritual need.
Christianity is no passing fad. It has stood the test of time. In fact, it is gaining popularity like never before. (See above.)
Jesus’ teaching is unfashionable in the same sense that interplanetary travel is unfashionable. If, however, by old-fashioned we mean that which is crude and outclassed, Jesus’ teaching renders modern society old-fashioned. Modern views, no matter how desperately we cling to them, have been superseded.
The morality of Jesus was so far ahead of its time that 2,000 years after Jesus brought it to this planet, modern society is still no closer to attaining it. ‘Go the extra mile . . . bless those who curse you . . . Judge not . . . It is more blessed to give than to receive . . .’
Present day morality, with its crude focus upon observable behavior rather than heart attitude, is hopelessly primitive and out of touch with reality. Consider these examples:
‘Anything’s OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone,’ says a man who wouldn’t dream of injuring his wife, and devastates her by cheating on her.
Multitudes call the seduction of a married person ‘love’. Seduction ravishes its victims at the deepest level, debauching them so completely as to make them willing partners in immorality. Even the hideous crime of rape leaves its unconsenting victims morally chaste.
People teach their children to say thankyou and they themselves never thank the God who gives them everything they have ever enjoyed. They pride themselves on paying off their debts and spurn the God to whom they owe everything.
What differentiates most of us from criminals is not morality but our cowardice (fear of getting caught, of incurring the disapproval of others, etc.) or lack of opportunity (not knowing how to commit the perfect crime, or not holding a gun at our weakest moment), yet we hold our head high in a society that clings to outdated morality.
26. To become a genuine Christian is almost impossible
27. I’m not convinced
28. I’ll think about it
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