Guide Christianity: the One, the Many :What Christianity Might Have Been and Could Still Become Volume 2

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The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christendom, and the Church with its . Early Christianity may be divided into two distinct phases: the apostolic . Galerius, who had previously been one of the leading figures in persecution, Though the bishop of Rome was still held to be the First among equals.
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Today, there are roughly 23 million more adults in the U. This means that there are now roughly million Christian adults in the U. Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.

The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity

But the fact that the direction of the trend is similar in both studies strongly suggests that both are picking up on real and significant change underway in the U. Latino adults fielded almost every year. See the detailed tables for complete trends in the religious composition of Hispanics based on both Pew Research Center political surveys and the NSL. For complete information about trends in the religious composition and worship attendance habits of the U.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

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It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. For details about the methodology employed for the and Religious Landscape Studies, click here. If the next Religious Landscape Study is conducted using a self-administered mode of survey administration e. This is because questions about religious identity, belief and practice can be sensitive, and some respondents may be reluctant to admit to interviewers that they are not religious.

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In the U. In other words, respondents may more honestly report low levels of religiosity in self-administered surveys, when no interviewer is present. When prompted by a survey question to report how often they attend religious services, respondents who say they attend every week may be indicating that they see themselves as the kind of people who regularly go to services, rather than that they never miss a week of church. For a discussion of differences between self-reported attendance and actual attendance rates, see Brenner, Philip S. Overreporting of Church Attendance in the U.

Though this body of research suggests that attendance measures from surveys may not necessarily be the best gauge of the share of people who attend services in any given week, knowing whether respondents think of themselves as regular churchgoers is nevertheless very important because this measure of religious commitment often is correlated with other religious beliefs and practices, as well as with social and political attitudes.

In addition to the overreporting of church attendance that arises from asking respondents directly about how often they attend religious services, readers should bear in mind that telephone opinion surveys can produce overestimates of religious attendance due to high rates of nonresponse. Those estimates were similar to the figures shown in this analysis. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around million Protestants in but whose congregations are in decline.

By , China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. They actually failed completely. Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history. It was founded in after William Edward Soothill, a Yorkshire-born missionary and future Oxford University professor, began evangelising local communities.

But by the late s, as the region was engulfed by Mao's violent anti-Christian campaigns, it was forced to close.

Liushi remained shut throughout the decade of the Cultural Revolution that began in , as places of worship were destroyed across the country. Since it reopened in its congregation has gone from strength to strength as part of China's officially sanctioned Christian church — along with thousands of others that have accepted Communist Party oversight in return for being allowed to worship. Today it has 2, regular churchgoers and holds up to 70 baptisms each year, according to Shi Xiaoli, its year-old preacher.

The parish's revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,ft mega-church, reputedly the biggest in mainland China. The new one is big and eye-catching. The Liushi church is not alone. From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.

Where Does Evangelism Fit on Sunday Morning?

A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president. Among China's Protestants are also many millions who worship at illegal underground "house churches", which hold unsupervised services — often in people's homes — in an attempt to evade the prying eyes of the Communist Party. Such churches are mostly behind China's embryonic missionary movement — a reversal of roles after the country was for centuries the target of foreign missionaries.

Now it is starting to send its own missionaries abroad, notably into North Korea, in search of souls. Some officials argue that religious groups can provide social services the government cannot, while simultaneously helping reverse a growing moral crisis in a land where cash, not Communism, has now become king.

They appear to agree with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who said last week that Christianity could help boost Britain's "spiritual, physical and moral" state.

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Ms Shi, Liushi's preacher, who is careful to describe her church as "patriotic", said: "We have two motivations: one is our gospel mission and the other is serving society. Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please. Yet others within China's leadership worry about how the religious landscape might shape its political future, and its possible impact on the Communist Party's grip on power, despite the clause in the country's constitution that guarantees citizens the right to engage in "normal religious activities".

As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable. In Liushi church a closed circuit television camera hangs from the ceiling, directly in front of the lectern. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way," said the house-church preacher, who said state churches often shunned potentially subversive sections of the Bible.

The Old Testament book in which the exiled Daniel refuses to obey orders to worship the king rather than his own god is seen as "very dangerous", the preacher added. Such fears may not be entirely unwarranted.


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Christians' growing power was on show earlier this month when thousands flocked to defend a church in Wenzhou, a city known as the "Jerusalem of the East", after government threats to demolish it. Faced with the congregation's very public show of resistance, officials appear to have backed away from their plans, negotiating a compromise with church leaders.

They do not want the 70 million Christians to be their enemy.