A very happy Easter holidays to all of our Christian and non-Christian readers!
Contrary to the predictions of a demographic Islamic boom by the likes of Mark Steyn, it would appear that, somewhat surprisingly, Christianity is the world’s fastest growing religion. This claim is made in ‘The Next Christendom’ by Philip Jenkins and is reviewed in Quadrant and the NY Times.
But it is not the Western-centric Christianity that is providing the growth. The self-loathing and guilt-ridden calls by the head of the Anglican Church, Dr. Williams, to accommodate Sharia Law, or by our very own Reverend John Evans to dump Good Friday as a national holiday and replace it with a National Reconciliation Day recognising Aborigines, or by the Vatican to desist from buying plastic bags are not exactly putting bums on pews.
No – the growth is coming from ‘the poorest of the poor’ in Africa and Asia and the brand is Pentecostalism. It is spreading so fast because of the instruction to its members to go forth and proselytise. Pentecostals (or ‘Charismatics’) are even growing fast here in Australia, thanks to the Hillsong Church (as made famous by Australian Idol).
Authoritarian, patriarchal and deeply conservative, the Pentecostals are now a force to be reckoned with.