The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has just released a new report: Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020: Society, Religion, and Mission. The report covers major demographic trends in global Christianity, world religions, and mission over the past 40 years, while tracking potential trends for the next 10 years.
The statistics for Africa indicate a growth of the total Christian population on the continent from 38.7% (1970) to 49.3% (2020) – a growth parallel to a decrease of ‘ethnoreligionists’ from 20.5% to 8.7% over the same period, and a slight increase of Muslims (from 40.0 to 41.7%).
I am not sure whether the statistics are really helpful to further understand the growth of Christianity on the continent. The report is based on the World Christian Database, which divides Christianity in six traditions (Anglicans, Independents, Marginals, Orthodox, Protestants, and Roman Catholics) but does not look at Pentecostal Christianity as a separate category. Thus, even though the report states that ‘renewalist Christians’ in Africa will grow from 18.8 million (1970) to 226.2 million by 2020, in the report’s section on Africa itself these Christians and their dramatic growth are not mentioned at all. Instead we read that Catholics remain the largest block and that Anglicans have seen the fastest growth – this may partly be explained from the renewalist movements within these denominations, but what about Pentecostal Christians outside the categories of the WCD?
You can look at the report here
Its time to start thinking about our next AASR Conference and we’re excited to announce that we’ll be turning our attention back to the environment as we meet at University of Cape Town in South Africa, July 30-August 3, 2014. Now is a great time to be thinking about the paper you want to submit. The theme for this year’s conference is: Religion, Ecology, and the Environment in Africa and the African Diaspora. Papers can be submitted online through our online submission system. Read the full conference announcement here.