Patrick did it again – he assembled and published a book titled THE FUTURE OF THE GLOBAL CHURCH: History, Trends and Possibilities. It is a book of numbers, charts and maps. It explains the big picture, about our Christian church in this world today. A must read – no doubt about it.
When I pondered and marveled about some parts of the world where evangelicalism and Biblical Christianity is growing, I almost fell into a same trap David did in 1 Chronicles 21:2-8 when he ordered that arms capable males be counted in his kingdom. He took pride in their number – and the Lord instantly rebuked him for that; not only the Lord, but his faithful officers as well. Somehow, David showed that he did not trust the Lord, but took the high number of people to be his strength. May Lord help us not to get into the same way of thinking. We are fully dependent on God and he guides our decisions, right?
Almost to the end, PJ shows several lists. One of them is titled: The countries with the smallest percentage of evangelical Christians. Not to say that I have learned that Bosnia is a predominant Catholic country (sic!), but it is actually at the first place, right before Montenegro, also having 0.1% evangelicals among the native population. Slovenia is on the fifth position, also with the same percentage. Macedonia just a few lines below with 0.2% and Croatia middle of the list with 0.4%. Sad and sorrow overcomes one when reading that the lands of former Yugoslavia are among the least evangelized countries in the world.
To my astonishment, Serbia (8 mil. people) is listed with having 0.6% of the population being evangelicals (48,000), so it is ranked 27th on the list. So, I did start counting to get strength from this high number: I took 2,000 Baptists, perhaps even 3,500 Pentecostals, and the rest of 2,000 of other Brethren, Christian community, independent, and alike. I added to that number an imaginary 2,000 of a mistake I have probably made and finally came to the number of 9,500 evangelicals in Serbia. OK, let’s say 10,000.
As I spent a good portion of the last 20 years doing research in the Balkans, and especially Serbia, I cannot but to be astonished with the size of a mistake. According to my head-counting, Serbia has roughly 0.13% of the native population as evangelicals, which would put her in 7th position.
And lastly, if you add to the above listed countries Albania and Greece also listed, it will be clear to anyone that the Balkans need Jesus, sort of, more than any other part of the world J. Ha – we are gaining prominence in at least one thing these days, aren’t we?