A Leveling Off In Japan

The growth of Christianity in Japan has slowed considerably. The Japanese periodical Christ’s Weekly says the total number of Christians increased by 640 last year, the smallest gain since the 1930s. The highest annual increase, 125,702, was recorded in 1968.

Christ’s Weekly reports there are approximately 1,095,000 Christians in Japan. That makes them about 1 per cent of the population.

There are about 5,000 Protestant churches in the country and some 119 Protestant denominations.

Reverberations In Belgium

Explo ’72, Campus Crusade for Christ’s student congress on evangelism (see July 7, 1972, issue, pp. 23, 31), set off a chain reaction of influence that is still being felt in places far from Dallas. Correspondent Bill Thomas interviewed Crusade staffer Ben Louwerse, who has been in predominantly Catholic Belgium just over a year, for this interesting sidelight to Explo’s aftermath.

Question: How have the Catholics of Belgium felt the impact of Explo?

Answer: While I was attending Explo ’72, I often asked myself: How could such an experience as Explo be a blessing in Belgium, a little country that’s so far away? After my return to Belgium, I met a Jesuit professor, Walter Smet. He had arrived in America the day after Explo and he read the newspaper coverage of the meetings. He was so impressed by what he read that he went to Arrowhead Springs to attend one of the training conferences, where he was deeply moved. On returning to Belgium he wrote a book on the Jesus movement, with one chapter about Explo and another about Campus Crusade. It will be out soon.

Q: How did you get involved?

A. Professor Smet put me in contact with several other priests here in Belgium who are quite open to the Jesus movement. Many ...

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