Sudan's Muslim north has been attempting to impose Islamic law on the country's Christian and animist south. Some 2 million people have died and more than 4 million have been displaced in the civil war, which began in 1983. However, both sides are negotiating a peace settlement that could be signed this month. Daniel Bul, 53, bishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan for the Diocese of Renk, spoke with CT's associate news editor, Stan Guthrie.
What can you report about church growth in Sudan?
Well the church is growing, especially the Anglicans now. [The church had] over 500,000 [adherents] when the British left Sudan in 1955. The independence of Sudan came in 1956. The number of Sudanese priests was at that time about 5 or 6.
But the priests in the Sudan now for Anglicans are 3,500. And the number of Christians is 5 million Anglicans. And there is big growth going on in other churches like the Catholics, like the Presbyterians and Pentecostals. Other smaller churches are growing. The growth of the church is really tremendous. And we hope … in the southern Sudan … everybody is going to be a Christian.
To what do you attribute this growth?
We were in a situation where we had nobody to turn to. Everything was difficult in the Sudan and the war was very hard on the people. You know, we have been in war for 20 years now. … This hard situation has really sharpened the eyes of the people and the only place to turn was God. And when we pray, we have so many miracles that God's been doing in the southern Sudan. And the Holy Spirit was moving as a revival was happening. There was no food, there was no medicine, but when people gather and pray for a person who is sick, he gets healed. And that turns the people to Christ. There was no medicine, ...1