With the exploding growth of Christianity, China is on track to become the country with the most Christians, within our lifetime.
According to a study by PewResearch, initially report on by Tom Phillips of The Telegraph, there are estimated to be over 67 million Christians in The People’s Republic of China. It is difficult to get an accurate number, because millions of Christians worship in illegal “house churches” to avoid the oversight of the Communist Party.
67 million Christians might be a conservative estimate, but that number is sizable and it’s growing fast.
Dr. Fenggang Yang , Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society (CRCS), Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule, believes the number of Christians in China will grow to over 247 million by 2030. “It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change,” states Dr. Yang.
Amazingly, this has all occurred in the last 30 years; since the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) initiated by former Chairman Mao Zedong, which was intended to enforce communism and remove traditional and cultural elements from Chinese society.
“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely,” Dr. Yang said. “All churches, temples, and mosques were closed down, converted for secular uses, or turned to museums for the purpose of atheist education. Over the last three decades, however, religion has survived and thrived even as China remains under Communist rule. Christianity ranks among the fastest-growing religions in the country… All the while, authorities have carried out waves of atheist propaganda, anti-superstition campaigns, severe crackdowns on the underground Christian churches and various ”evil cults.””
The projected number of Christians in China is equal to the current United States, who has around 247 million Christians, but that number is shrinking. The proportion of Americans who are Christian has declined in recent years, from well over 90% in 1900 to almost 80% today. Meanwhile, the number of Chinese who are Christian has risen to an estimated 5% – 8% of China’s population.
Brazil currently has the second largest number of Christians with about 176 million, Mexico is third with 108 million, and Russia is fourth with 105 million Christians.
As the Christian church grows in China, it is likely to face increasing issues with the Communist Party, which has historically sought to stifle Christianity.
Please make sure to pray for the Christians in China.
God bless us all!