Eighty percent of South Africa is Christian, said the 2001 census. It is, from a statistician’s vantage point, a “churched” nation. There have been missionaries for hundreds of years. My own denomination started services in Cape Town 1794.
Yet numbers can be deceiving.
A churched nation is not the same thing as a “gospeled” nation, and the massive growth of the so-called prosperity gospel in South Africa suggests that my generation may be observing the rise of “parallel Christianity,” a Christianity that is effectively post-Bible.
“CHRISTIANS” WHO DON’T KNOW THE GOSPEL
This claim isn’t based on statistics. I haven’t gathered those. I have gathered people. I have human beings who have attended the well-known bigger churches for years, and then somehow found their way into the church where I serve. Then, after attending for a little while, they tell us they are surprised to regularly hear in the preaching and the liturgy that they are sinners. It’s a new thought for them.
They tell us—tragically—that in our church they feel like they are hearing the gospel for the first time. They become anxious for their friends in their former churches. Then they even get angry at those churches. I understand. Keep reading
I originally posted this article two years ago. I have noted recent interest in this article when I have checked Anglicans Ablaze's stats so I am reposting the article for Anglicans Ablaze readers. I also discovered that the link to the article was no longer working. Grant Retief is the rector of Christ Church Umhlanga just outside of Durban, South Africa. Christ Church Umhlanga is affiliated with REACH South Africa - the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa, which is the official operating name of the Church of England in South Africa, an independent denomination in Anglican tradition, formed in South Africa in the nineteenth century.