World Mission Movement

Since its inception, Christianity has taken advantage of trade routes. Because of these trade routes, Christianity was able to make large gains in the Roman Empire as Christianity primarily spread from Jerusalem to the North up through Europe. As the Roman Empire fell, the trade routes were closed off and due to rising persecution and much death in other parts of the world Christianity became almost entirely European in nature. The Great Commission though charges Christians to spread the gospel to the whole world and to every people group. The spread of the gospel can be seen in four to five eras as Christians first made it to the coasts around the world and then inland to reach as many people as possible where the largest concentrations have been. These eras passed on to the era of unreached people groups which then required Bibles to be translated into previously unused languages. The last era that can be considered is that of Ralph Winter who has helped missionaries being sent from the majority world countries than ever before and now, “there are more missionaries sent out from Majority World churches than from the West”[1]

While I was reading about the current movement of Christianity through the world, the biggest thing I learned is how currently more than 70% of the world’s Christian population comes from the Southern Hemisphere. While this movement shouldn’t be too surprising due to the general trends of population, it is something to make note of as the area and population of missions needs to change to reflect the trends to win the most people to Christ. The movement of Christian populations toward the southern half of the world allows for many changes in theology and specifically the application of theology in order for the Christians to meet the needs of the world around them. The change in the location of Christians in the southern half of the world does present challenges and as Johnson and Lee say “This will potentially intensify both conflict and dialogue.”[2] This change in applicational theology will be great, but as Christians we will still need to guard against false doctrines that will creep into any theological discussion and any church that Satan can get his hands on.

[1] Winter, Raph & Steven Hawthorne. Perspectives On The World Christian Movement. (Pasadena. William Carey Publishers. 2009) 380.

[2] Winter, Raph & Steven Hawthorne. Perspectives On The World Christian Movement. (Pasadena. William Carey Publishers. 2009) 389.

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