I Have to Believe it’s Getting Better

David Field provides some heartening evidence in this paper about how the world is improving for the Church:

Evangelical defeatism is a failure of historical perspective. After all, the statistics are out there. It took 1400 years for 1% of the world’s population to become Christians and then another 360 years for that to double to 2%. Another 170 years saw that grow from 2% to 4% and then, between 1960 and 1990 the proportion of the world’s population made up of Bible-believing Christians rose from 4% to 8%. Now, in 2007, one third of the world’s population confesses that Jesus is Lord and 11% of the world’s population are “evangelical” Christians. The evangelical church is growing twice as fast as Islam and three times as fast as the world’s population. South America is turning Protestant faster than Continental Europe did in the sixteenth century. South Koreans reckon that they can evangelize the whole of North Korea within five years once that country opens up. And then there’s the Chinese church consisting of tens of millions of Christians who have learned to pray, who have confidence in Scripture, who know about spiritual warfare, have been schooled in suffering and are qualified to rule. One day in the next century that Church – tens of millions of Christians trained to die – will be released into global mission and our prayers for the fall of Islam will be answered.

Amen! It is good to see evidence of postmillenial optimism. We walk by faith, not by sight.


7 thoughts on “I Have to Believe it’s Getting Better”

  1. I actually know what that means since I went to a seminar a few weeks ago. Jonathan Edwards is the father of this position in North American theology. It encourages social and cultural involvement. I am not a post millennialist, but I salute you.

    1. It is closely tied to preterism, which is the belief that most of the prophecies in Revelation and the Olivet Discourse were fulfilled in 70 AD. Also, it takes seriously the claim that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. We may be here for another 1,000 or 100,000 years, and eventually the nations will be discipled like Jesus said they would be. There will be ebbs and flows, ups and downs, but in the end, the nations will all be largely Christian.

    1. A broken clock is right twice a day. I have seen them using this language. There was a lot of cross-pollination between their thought and Dominion theology writers like Gary North back in the early 80’s. North wanted to use the charismatics as shock troops for his theology and so he would speak at their conferences. Some of it is also just in the Bible and they use it, “the head and not the tail” and all that stuff. But it doesn’t lessen their heresy or evil. Mormons are largely extremely pre-millenial, but that doesn’t matter either.

  2. “One day in the next century that Church – tens of millions of Christians trained to die – will be released into global mission and our prayers for the fall of Islam will be answered.”

    Somehow, I get a different picture from this post and these “encouraging” statistics. First of all, statistics mean nothing. Sorry, but I don’t pay them any attention. Only God has the means to measure how many human beings have come to know Him and have accepted His Son and are “trained to die,” whatever that means to you or me.

    Second, I see from previous comments that the more important issue for some poeple is whether one is a post-millennialist or some other kind of philosopher. Don’t ask me, because I just believe what the Word of God says and don’t try to interpret, and I don’t deal in labels.

    What prayers for the fall of Islam? I would bet that if any Christians actually pray for the fall of Islam it is relatively few. Pray for the fall of what cannot stand? What kind of prayer is that? We already know that Islam is in the process of falling as we speak. It’s not directly attributable to any Christian gang warfare strategy against Islam, though the availability of the Bible through the internet and all the other internet resources is certainly making headway. Yet these resources are not our claim to victory. Those who make use of them on their own initiative are far more responsible for the melt-down going on in Islam than we are.

    Islam is falling right now not because of our statistics or our efforts. It is simply a false and backward politico-religious system whose time has finally come—for dissolution. The Information Age provided by the humanistic world system that cares nothing for our Christian faith has provided the platform for Islam’s fall. We Christians may take credit for it, just like Catholics believe Pope John Paul II was responsible for the fall of Communism, but I think both interpretations are missing the mark.

    People want to be free. They want to be happy. They want to live without constant fear for their lives. They want to know that they can raise a family and pass on their heritage to their descendants. The following of Jesus Christ is always possible in every situation, but with various costs. In Saudi Arabia, the cost is probable death. In America, the cost can be apostasy. Why? Because a church that is victorious in the world always becomes “Imperial Church”.

    We know this, we who are Orthodox Christians.” We Greeks have learned our lesson. The throne behind the altar in our churches can be sat in by no one but Christ or His earthly representative, the Christian Emperor. We expect ours to be sat in by Christ alone. Our last emperor went down on the walls of Constantinople in 1453, proving the vanity of worldly power. The Russians haven’t apparently learned that lesson well enough yet, despite the murder of their last emperor; many of them seem to be holding out for an earthly emperor to sit on the throne behind their altars.

    Islam is dying. It’s death throes are proclaimed in the violence of the mujahidin. We will live to see the fall of Islam, but it won’t be like the fall of communism. History never quite repeats itself. The Christian opportunity is never more present than in one’s own household. Before we glory in the evangelisation of the Islam-enslaved peoples, have we witnessed to ourselves?

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