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Christianity is ceasing to be a white religion, and is becoming mostly a faith for people of color in the Global South, according to an American Anglican priest. Millions of those believers practice emotionally-charged worship styles, hold fundamentalist views, and speak in tongues.

Writing in the New York Times, in a report titled “The Global Transformation of Christianity is Here,” Reverend Tish Harrison Warren attended a Texas evangelical service where people waved their arms, shouting “Glory to God” and “Amen.” However, there was an unusual difference: “Nearly everyone in the room was an immigrant and a person of color. We sang in English but also in Spanish, Portuguese, Igbo and Nepali.”

Pentecostalism is surging in less developed parts of the world—and when a Northern country acquires a large “holy roller” church, its members are mostly immigrants from the Global South, she said. Warren quoted Sam George of Wheaton College:

“What is happening in America is just a part of a larger transformation because Christianity is getting a new face. It is getting more black and brown and yellow.”

The priest quoted a new book, The Unexpected Christian Century, which says that, in 1900, about 80 percent of all Christians lived in the developed North—but by 2000, that percentage had dropped to 40 percent. By 2020, it was 37 percent. Almost two-thirds of the world’s Christians are in the Southern Hemisphere, mostly in independent “spiritual” churches.

“There are around 685 million Christians in Africa now,” Warren said. She continued:

“The largest church congregation in the world belongs to Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, an Assemblies of God church, which has around 480,000 members.” (“Full Gospel” means a fundamentalist interpretation of Bible, including the mandate that believers “shall speak with new tongues.”)

Warren declared: “The future of American evangelicalism isn’t white…. This ‘browning’ of the church in America, as some scholars call it, scrambles all the categories.”

To me, it seems that the world is splitting into two camps: Educated, science-minded Northerners have little need for supernaturalism. But the other camp, less-educated Southern believers who interpret the Bible literally, is enormous and growing. That seems to be the bipolar global picture in the 21st century.

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DAYLIGHT ATHEISM Adam Lee is an atheist author and speaker from New York City. His previously published books include "Daylight Atheism," "Meta: On God, the Big Questions, and the Just City," and most...