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The Diminishing Task
An Astonishing Trend

By Ralph Winter

A Closing Gap

Population Trends
Date Non-Christians Committed Christians
AD 100 180 million 500 thousand
AD 1000 220 million 1 million
AD 1500 344 million 5 million
AD 1900 1.064 billion 40 million
AD 1950 1.650 billion 80 million
AD 1980 3.025 billion 275 million
AD 1989 3.438 billion 500 million

Source: Lausanne Statistics Task Force

All other types of statistics fall to the ground before the fact that humble people committed to God have, across the centuries, more or less constantly been gaining a higher and higher percentage of all the people on earth. Many people become fearful when they think about the global population explosion and somehow they cannot believe that the conquering power of the risen Christ is expanding even faster. However, the figures show the growth in the number of committed Christians rapidly outpacing the growth in the number of non-Christians. For example, from 1980 to 1989 alone the number of non-Christians increased by 413 million or only 13.7 percent. At the same time, the number of committed Christians increased by 225 million, for an astonishing 81 percent growth rate in nine years!

But this amazing growth will gain even greater speed if, in addition to what is shown in the chart, believers respond to the fact that the 500 million committed Christians today amount to about 7 million congregations, which is 583 congregations for each of the 12,000 remaining un-reached people groups! And specific adoptions are being pursued by more and more Christians all over the world.

Note: In the charts on this page, the term non-Christian means people who do not consider themselves to be Christians. This number does not include people who do consider themselves to be Christians and who have the Bible in their language but who may not truly know or believe the God of the Bible. Committed Christians means people who read, believe, and obey the Bible, whether or not they are as active as they ought to be in world evangelism. Numbers for early centuries are approximate estimates.

This article originally appeared in Crosswinds magazine, Volume 1, Number 1.  Copyright ©1992 Coalition on Revival.




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