Monday, February 21, 2011

270/24 and Other Numbers in 2011

Each year, the International Bulletin of Missionary Research releases an update on the status of global Christianity. They've just released the 2011 Status of Global Mission report, which has some really interesting findings. It's a valuable report because it compares "Christianity’s circumstances to those of other faiths, and assaying how Christianity’s various expressions are faring when measured against the recent (and not-so-recent) past." And as one blogger put it, "The report is unfailingly interesting, sometimes jarring, and occasionally provocative." Here's what they found (which is a summary of George Weigel's article at First Things):

  • The Status of Global Mission report researched the frequency of Christian martyrdom. The SGM defined martyrdom as “believers in Christ who have lost their lives, prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility.” SGM estimated that on average there are 270 new Christian martyrs every 24 hours over the past decade, such that “the number of martyrs [in the period 2000-2010] was approximately 1 million.”
  • By mid 2011 there will be 2,306,609,000 people who see themselves alinged with Christianity in some description. These 2.3 billion Christians can be divided into six “ecclesiastical megablocks”: 1,160,880,000 Catholics; 426,450,000 Protestants; 271,316,000 Orthodox; 87,520,000 Anglicans; 378,281,000 “Independents” (i.e., those separated from or unaffiliated with historic denominational Christianity); and 35,539,000 “marginal Christians” (i.e., those professing off-brand Trinitarian theology, dubious Christology, or a supplementary written revelation beyond the Bible).
  • As of mid-2011, there will be an average of 80,000 new Christians per day (of whom 31,000 will be Catholics) and 79,000 new Muslims per day, but 300 fewer atheists every 24 hours.
  • Africa has been the most stunning area of Christian growth over the past century. There were 8.7 million African Christians in 1900 (primarily in Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa); there are 475 million African Christians today and their numbers are projected to reach 670 million by 2025.
  • There were 1,600 Christian denominations in 1900; there were 18,800 in 1970; and there are 42,000 today.
  • $545 billion is given to Christian causes annually, which comes out to $1.5 billion per day.


meredith said...

Wow. Staggering. I feel terribly ignorant, but where have most of the martyrdoms been? I had no idea of the scale ofit. i am also amazed by the amount of financial giving - though i wonder how it compares to, say global arms spending...

meredith said...

as opposed to alms spending?

Matthew said...

Besides Indonesia, India, China, Nigeria, and Mexico, the report included large numbers of Christians killed in Sudan and DR Congo, because they met the report's definition of a martyr.

It's pretty huge - 100,000 a year.

Brad Konemann said...

Hey Matt, thanks for sharing this research.

You would also want to include North Korea (the worst persecutor of Christians in the world today) and the Muslim world as major areas where Christians are killed for the name of Jesus.

Each year, many Christians are martyred in Islamic countries. This includes MBBs who are killed by their relatives for bringing shame on the family.

Tom Barrett said...

the old protestant vs anglican confusion seems to be showing up again. For some of us they mean the same thing; for others they are opposites; it makes it difficult to know what's really going on.