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Christian History Home > 1996 > Issue 52 > Was It Worth It?


Was It Worth It?
Western Protestants poured money and people into China for a hundred years. Did it make a significant difference?
editors | posted 10/01/1996 12:00AM

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This graphic gives a visual impression of the accompanying numbers. The numbers are gleaned from various sources and, in many cases, are simply educated guesses by missiologists. Estimates of the number of Christians today vary widely among experts. We've used the figures of Tony Lambert of OMF (international), which seem to occupy a middle ground.
—The Editors

Western Protestants poured money and people into China for a hundred years. Did it make a significant difference?

Western Protestants poured money and people into China for a hundred years. Did it make a significant difference?

Protestant Missionaries
1807: 1
1840: 20
1858: 81
1865: 189
1874: 436
1893: 1,324
1906: 3,833
1918: 6,395
1926: 8,325
1928: 4,375
1930: 6,346
1951: 0

Population of China
1812: 362 million
1851: 380 million
1949: 450 million
1980: 900 million
1990: 1.1 billion
1996: 1.2 billion

Baptized Protestants
1800: 0
1834: 10
1853: 350
1869: 5,753
1876: 13,035
1898: 80,000
1911: 207,747
1934: 500,000
1980: 2 million
1996: 33 million
(government estimate: 19 million)

Protestants per Chinese
1850: 1 in 1 million
1900: 1 in 2,000
1926: 1 in 1,000
1952: 1 in 1,000
1996: 1 in 36

Roman Catholics
1800: -250,000 (compared to 0 Protestants)
1900: (about) 1 million
1950: -3 million-or five times the number of Protestants
1996: -18 million-or about half the number of Protestants
(government estimate: 6 million)

Total Christians (Protestants & Catholics) in China's population today
4.3 percent or 1 in 23.

Source of Statistics: Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christian Missions in China (1929); Tony Lambert, OMF (INTERNATIONAL); statistics of the People's Republic of China.




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