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What is the fastest-growing religion on Earth?
Most news reports suggest it is Islam.
But a new book makes a compelling case it is a new, or, perhaps, old form of biblically inspired evangelical Christianity that is sweeping through places like China, Africa, India and Southeast Asia.
In “Megashift,” author Jim Rutz coins a new phrase to define this fast-growing segment of the population. He calls them “core apostolics” – or “the new saints who are at the heart of the mushrooming kingdom of God.”
Rutz makes the point that Christianity is overlooked as the fastest-growing faith in the world because most surveys look at the traditional Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church while ignoring Christian believers who have no part of either.
He says there are 707 million “switched-on disciples” who fit into this new category and that this “church” is exploding in growth.
“The growing core of Christianity crosses theological lines and includes 707 million born-again people who are increasing by 8 percent a year,” he says.
So fast is this group growing that, under current trends, according to Rutz, the entire world will be composed of such believers by the year 2032.
“There will be pockets of resistance and unforeseen breakthroughs,” writes Rutz. “Still, at the rate we’re growing now, to be comically precise, there would be more Christians than people by the autumn of 2032, about 8.2 billion.”
According to the author, until 1960, Western evangelicals outnumbered non-Western evangelicals – mostly Latinos, blacks and Asians – by two to one. As of 2000, non-Western evangelicals outnumbered Westerners by four to one. He says by 2010, the ratio will be seven to one.
“There are now more missionaries sent from non-Western nations than Western nations,” he writes.
This trend, says Rutz, has been missed by Westerners because the explosive growth is elsewhere.
Hundreds of millions of these Christians are simply not associated with the institutional churches at all. They meet in homes. They meet underground. They meet in caves. They meet, he says, in secret.
And what is driving this movement?
Miracles, he says.
“Megashift” attempts to document myriad healings and other powerful answers to the sincere prayers of this new category of believer, including, believe it or not, hundreds of dramatic cases of resurrections – not near-death experiences, but real resurrections of actual corpses.
“When I was a kid in Sunday school, I was really impressed that 3,000 people were saved on the Day of Pentecost,” he writes. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’ll never happen again!”
But, Rutz says, it now happens around the globe every 25 minutes.
“By tomorrow, there will be 175,000 more Christians than there are today,” he writes.
The essence of Rutz’s book is about how Western Christians can tap into what he sees as a mighty work of God on Earth.
“Very few people realize the nature of life on Earth is going through a major change,” he writes. “We are seeing a megashift in the basic direction of human history. Until our time, the ancient war between good and evil was hardly better than a stalemate. Now all has changed. The Creator whose epic story flows through the pages of Scripture has begun to dissolve the strongholds of evil. This new drama is being played out every hour around the globe, accompanied sometimes by mind-bending miracles.”
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