Thursday, September 06, 2007

Follow-up to a Previous Post

Back in May, I posted on this blog regarding the importance of understanding our place in the world as American Calvinists:

Yesterday, Richard Land penned a succinct article outlining the titanic demographic and geographic shift in Christ's Church that is happening right before our eyes. It warrants a read:'Global_South'.htm

A few things of note:

1) It has become commonplace in the cultural discourse to hear the refrain that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion. Not true. It MAY have been true 20-30 years ago, but no longer. Christianity has reassumed its place as the fastest growing religion in the world. Moreover, along with pentecostal leanings leading the Protestant charge, Reformed leanings are also enjoying something of a comeback. As mentioned previously, South Korea is a phenomenal Reformed success story, but as Land points out, places like Ghana have also become very receptive to Reformed theology and presbyterianism in particular, while much of orthodox African Anglicanism is also fairly Reformed.

2) There is no longer any serious doubt that the power base of the global church is no longer in the West, but in the Global South. It is in the Global South that Christianity is literally spreading like wildfire and where revival is literally happening right now. It is the Global South that is evangelizing the West rather than the other way around. It is the Global South that is providing safe harbor for conservative congregations in the West who feel exiled by the liberal drift of the Western mainline. While Western mainline and even evangelical traditions are busy trying to accommodate Christianity to an increasingly secular culture, missionaries from the Global South are transforming culture as Scripture commands. Land's comments about the state of the church in Denmark are very revealing about the difference between us and our brothers in the Global South.

3) The vitality, conviction, passion, and loyalty to God and to the purity of his bride that are the hallmarks of the Global South are cause for great hope. While no movement is perfect, I for one am glad that the forseeable future of the church will be led by them, not us.

I think Land's article, without directly saying it, supports the notion that American Christians need to seriously start getting used to being in the bullpen rather than being the starting pitcher. The Global South is in charge. The big money might still be in the West, but money doesn't last, and it won't stop the church from sinking. The American church needs two things more than anything else at the moment: A spirit of repentance, and non-Western missionaries who prophetically call us back to the passionate childlike faith we long ago sacrificed on the altar of cultural and academic sophistication.