An article in today’s news reported that the worldwide Anglican Communion has suspended The Episcopal Church (Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA – PECUSA) for its stand on gay marriage. While some action was expected many thought it might be that the more conservative bishops may split. Instead they rallied and have sharply disciplined the denomination giving it three years to repent of its actions. (http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/january/episcopal-church-suspended-anglican-communion-gay-marriage.html)
This got me to thinking about how this might play in the good ole US of A. I think we have long assumed that we are at the center of shaping the Christian faith around the world. But truth be told we have never had that influence. For almost a millenia (900 – 1900AD) Europe has played that role with 67% of the Christian population residing within its bounds. But in the 20th century populations began to shift. Radically it seems.
About 2010-2015 reports began to indicate just how significant the population shift was. In 2010, a Pew Forum survey found that roughly 26% of Christians lived in Europe, 37% in (all of) the Americas 24% in SubSaharan Africa and 13% in Asia and the South Pacific.
As of 2015, roughly 225 million people in America claimed to be Christian meaning that only 10% of the world’s population of Christians lived in the USA. So when an organization such as the worldwide Anglican Communion gathers its make up 38 primates represent 85 million Anglicans, only 1.8 million (or 2%) of which live in the USA.
With all the rallying cries of the Christian church dying it is good to know that the worldwide figures do not model what is going on in the USA. Furthermore, our increasing love affair with the world and its immoral standards is not shared with the vast majority of Christians around the world.
Bottom line. The church of Jesus Christ is alive and well, just not necessarily in the USA. Thanks be to God for African, Latin and South American, Asian, and yes, Arabic Christians who hold the cross high even when suffering so much.