While the situation of Christianity in The West is dire, whichever way you look at it, there are places in Africa, Asia (especially China) and in some Arabian countries where Christianity is growing fast and Christians are active, devout, energetic – to the point that the numerical decline of The West is approximately balanced by expansion elsewhere.
This is a litmus test issue, because of the nature of the churches that are growing – on the whole this massive growth is among what is termed ‘Renewalist’ churches – that it to say Pentecostal and Charismatic churches…
Is this growth of Christianity something to be celebrated by Western Christians, despite that it is happening among churches and people who – if they were located in the West – would be regarded with dismay, and indeed strongly disapproved of, by most Christian commentators from most of the major Western denominations?
In a phrase: is the actual worldwide growth of Christianity A Good Thing, or not? …
My impression is that people distinguish between a type of Christianity that is appropriate for African or Chinese in their own nations – and what is appropriate for the West, so they can celebrate growth of types of Christianity in other places that they would argue vehemently against in the West. But with unprecedented world population movements this attitude may not be viable – aside from the fact that it seems evasive to the point of dishonesty.
The question Western Christians need to ask themselves – from their perspective as devout and serious Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Anglicans, Orthodox, or from being a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or whatever – is whether they personally would approve of a Western Christian revival IF it was of the same type as actual recent and current Christian growth in other parts of the world?
If Pentecostal and Charismatic churches of many shapes and sizes began to spring up in The West with a focus on personal supernatural experiences – if these churches changed people’s lives, lent them enthusiasm, courage, energy… would you be pleased, or dismayed?
Because such a phenomenon could not be a matter of indifference. Sooner or later you, like everyone, would need to take sides and decide: Are such Christian churches to be encouraged, or suppressed?