Inside the ‘Secret World’ of Global Evangelism to Muslims

While reporting from conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East, Adriana Carranca met evangelical missionaries sent from surprising places.

In a 2007 article, CT described British church historian Andrew Walls (1928–2021) as “the most important person you don’t know.” Among his greatest achievements was helping turn the attention of Western scholars to the remarkable growth of Christianity in the Global South. Walls’s work on what he then called “non-Western Christianity” was amplified by the efforts of David B. Barrett (1927–2011), whose groundbreaking research on global religious statistics produced the World Christian Encyclopedia, coedited by Todd Johnson and Gina Zurlo.

We now know that the demographic center of Christianity shifted to the Global South during the 20th century in dramatic fashion, and we also know a lot more about how it actually happened. Evangelicalism, as one of the fastest-growing demographic blocs within global Christianity, has contributed significantly to these transformations.

Today, more than 77 percent of the world’s evangelicals are Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans. Even if a significant number of American evangelicals may favor some form of Christian nationalism (though the numbers are likely exaggerated), and even if a majority of white American evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, what often goes unstated is that the vast majority of the world’s evangelicals are neither white nor American. Evangelicals around the world are not united on matters of politics and race, but they lay great stress on the Bible, the central message of the Cross, and man’s need for conversion.

Evangelicalism, then, is plainly not an American movement. The vast majority of the world’s evangelicals live in the Global South, and they are actively engaged in sending missionaries …

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