For the first time since the apostolic age the Christian fellowship is today a diminishing minority in the world.
No longer is Christianity riding the crest of a dynamic cultural movement, such as the expansion of the Roman empire, or the extension of capitalistic world trade in the colonial era. More appalling, no longer does the Church disclose the martyr spirit of a holy remnant prophetically addressing the multitude and preferring death to compromise. Instead, conformed to this world, professing Christendom seems self-assured of majority status, while the urgency that once gripped the churches is passing to the religious cults.
The explosive expansion of world population is one complicating factor. The brute hostility and aggression of totalitarian tyrants is another. The awakening of the slumbering non-Christian religions and expansion of the cults is a third. By 2000 A.D. the Christian population in proportion to all inhabitants of the globe is likely to be strikingly less than at the present time. (Dr. Ernest E. Smith reminded the American Baptist Convention recently that Al Azhar University in Cairo is reportedly sending out 5,000 Moslem missionaries yearly; that in 1957, commemorating the 2500th year of Buddhism, 2,500 young men were admitted into the Buddhist priesthood in Thailand; that Jehovah’s witnesses, “possessing no great scholars and certainly no preachers,” are nonetheless spreading over the world like a veritable plague.)
Small wonder Protestant leaders in denominational evangelism are stirring with new and grave concerns. For the organized Church is faced by distressing problems in evangelism. In some situations “church extension” has deteriorated to mechanical committee meetings of realtors and bankers ...1
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