Ed: Some are estimating that in the next couple of decades, they’ll be more evangelicals in Brazil than in the United States. It’s already the second largest mission-sending country in the world by some measurements. Honduras may be as much as half evangelical Christians now. With all these shifts of numbers of believers, what will that do in terms of global leadership? We’ve already seen the Anglican Global South assert its authority as the majority. How will this shift play out in the coming years?
Dr. Jenkins: So much of this change has happened very recently ”“ within 30, 40, 50 years, which in the span of Christian history is not great. It’s hardly surprising that some institutions have not adapted fully to take account of that. Other churches, however, recognize it. On a typical Sunday, there are more Assemblies of God worshippers in the greater San Paulo, Brazil area than in the United States. It’s a radical change.
Let me suggest to you that in 30 years, there will be two sorts of church in the world. There’ll be the ones that are multi-ethnic, transnational, and multi-continental. They are constantly battling over issues of culture, lifestyle, worship, and constantly in conflict, debate and controversy. And those are the good ones. The other churches will have decided to let all these trends pass them by. They’ll live just like they’ve always done with an average age in their congregations of 80. Personally, I’d much rather be in one of the ones that is recognizing, taking account of the expansion with all the debates and controversies.
Read it all (and please note this is part three of a series and the links for the first two parts are provided in the top section introducing this interview).