August 14, 2012

Christians are losing ground, in more ways than one.

“Muslims could overtake western world with high birth rates…”

That headline was an attention grabber all right. Its stark announcement was unambiguous – in the “arms race” for religious supremacy, Christians were in danger as a powerful challenger had entered the competition for souls.


The article continued with these stats… “According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the world growth rate of Muslims is 2.13 and for Christians it is 1.36, with the birth rate of Muslims about double that of Christians.”

Then the article author, Joseph D’Agostino, made this pronouncement, “It’s because Christian and Jews are refusing to have children, refusing to get married, [and] having such low birth rates that the Muslims are going to inherit the Earth,”

Well, I am not surprised. It has long been my observation that believers are not as fruitful as scripture encourages us to be. God commanded us to be fruitful in two ways and neither is in vogue today.

God’s very first commandment in scripture was that His people were to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). That means make babies; have lots of children!

And why not? Scripture is clear, “children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Is the reason we decline the command to reproduce, economic – it’s too expensive to have more than a couple of kids? Is it convenience – it’s too much hassle? Or cultural – only third world countries are ignorant and poor enough to forgo birth control, therefore they have the larger families?

Christ elevated the bar for population supremacy when He commanded that we Christians make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). It was His last words to his Disciples, His last commandment, therefore, perhaps His most urgent. This is why I go to some lengths to explain, in the book “Discipleship is Parenting”, that populating heaven with saved souls is parallel to populating the earth with humans – it begins with a birth (John 3:3), it’s a new birth in Christ through the gospel!

But our birth rate record, evangelistically, is now very impressive either. According to one statistical analysis on conversion comparisons of the world’s religions, we Christians have a conversion ratio of 799 believers to convert one person to Christ!

Now the Body of Christ exercises its muscles very well in many areas, worship, fellowship, service to those in need. But our evangelism muscle is sorely out of shape when compared to those other aspects of the Christian life. And that atrophied muscle – witnessing – is particularly glaring when we consider our mission and Christ’s words of command is specifically to give testimony to His resurrection, His redemption, as His ambassadors; saving a dying world through the Gospel!

The good news, according to the statistics, is that Christianity, worldwide, enjoys a slight population lead on the other religions. But my concern with the definition of that term, “Christianity”, statistically is that it is broadly defined and includes non-evangelicals; that is, those who may not truly know Christ personally but only traditionally.

Therefore, it is safe to say, we are not having enough children, not physically, not spiritually. Not until everyone has enough “babies” to replace themselves; at least! And 1.36 children per couple isn’t enough. And not until we reproduce our faith in another, and 799 to one per conversion is horrible.

Come on, it’s fun and it’s imperative. Let’s make babies; believers!

– Article contributed by Jim Coté, President of the Master’s Men ministry.