The Religious State of the World

mission worldI am currently taking a class at Fuller Seminary entitled Church & Mission in a Global Context. I greatly appreciate church, church history and mission, and this class is scratching each of those itches.

Early on in the class, we viewed a short, 9-minute video from the Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in 2013. There is a large amount of statistics to process within this brief presentation. Nonetheless, it provides some interesting insights into the religious, and Christian, make-up of our world.

Check out the video below. Continue reading

Global Christianity Numbers Today

I read these words today from The Pew Research Center’s report on global Christianity.

The number of Christians around the world has more than tripled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).

Also, as one reads on, they will see the major shift in Christianity across the world – moving mainly from the north and western hemispheres and now into the eastern and southern hemispheres.

Some interesting statistics to ponder. I still believe God wants to renew things in Europe, renew things in a different way than what existed as western Christendom. But renew them nonetheless.

As the World Turns

Today, I read an interesting article from the BBC about what has happened amongst the BRIC’s in our world today.

What are BRIC’s?

It stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China.

For the past few decades, the world has typically identified strong economies and markets within 7 more developed (though not all ‘western’) countries. They are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada. Many call this group the G-7.

But now, with the 4 aforementioned BRIC countries, along with 3 others (Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey), we have what has been identified as the E-7, or the 7 emerging markets in our world today. Continue reading

Halloween – It’s That Time of Year Again

It’s that time of year again: autumn. This is the season where God displays his beauty in the shades of orange, yellow, red and brown in the leaves hanging from the trees. For me, it is also a time of anticipation as we lead up to the holiday season of Christmas. But in this time, it is also launches the day of Halloween. And thus, I share my annual Halloween post:

A debated day is upon us, at least in some Christians. I speak of Halloween, which arrives every year on October 31. Though I no longer live in America, I am aware that it is quite a celebrated day amongst my countrymen and women, or at least their children. The stores are stocked with all things orange and black, not to mention the overflowing aisles of all things candy.

And oddly enough, though I live in Belgium, I hear that if you go into one of the main American communities just south of Brussels, into the city of Waterloo, you will see lots of jack-o-lanterns in anticipation of the day.

Certainly, Christians have debated about this day for years on end. And, no doubt, many Christians would rather decline an invitation to dress-up in a costume and march around the neighbourhood, all with the intent of speaking those infamous words, ‘Trick or Treat,’ at each door that was knocked on.

So, is Halloween harmful, even evil? Or is it just a simple ploy to get some free candy? I mean, can’t we just dress up as clowns or firemen (or Bible characters) in our attempt to collect some complimentary candy? What are we to make of all this hype, for America does know how to hype its holidays? Those are the questions that beg themselves, at least for me. Continue reading

Word to the Wise: Leave Camping Alone This Time

Most of the world, or western world, was made aware of Harold Camping’s end of the world prediction that was to take place on 21st May 2011. The day went and passed, and as usual, the end of the world did not take place.

Personally, I don’t like the phrase ‘the end of the world’. There is something in American pop theology that sees an importance in creating a kind of scary view on all things eschatological, or last things. I think some of that simply goes away when we realise important truth such as a) we have been in the ‘last days’ since the Christ-event some 2000 years ago, b) Christ has won the victory and so will his people, even if an intense future worldwide tribulation were to come, c) Christ is currently reigning over all heaven and earth, and now our task is to ask that this reality come in this world as it is in heaven, i.e., Matt 6:10. For me, this is a more biblical foundation for last things. Continue reading