Evangelical Christians around the world believe in the Biblical doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches that the Bride of Christ, the Church Universal, will soon be caught up to meet Him in the air.
One of the supporting evidences of this doctrine is the unprecedented worldwide turning of millions of people to personal faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
While North American, European and Australian churches languish in Laodicean lethargy and lukewarmness, God’s Holy Spirit is awakening people from a diverse background to a personal commitment to Christ.
Two hundred years ago less than one per cent of evangelical Christians lived outside of the West. Today, 70% of believers are non-Western. It took 1,430 years for Christianity to reach one per cent of the world’s population. By 1940 that level had risen to three per cent. Since the Second World War evangelical Christianity has grown to 11.2 % of the world’s population.
A consortium of Christian broadcasters that began with ‘The World by 2000’ then ‘The World By Radio’ have estimated that 230,000 people pray to receive Christ as Saviour every day. Most of these converts are found in lands of poverty and persecution. Broadcast ratings indicate that satellite and internet Christian programming produced by HCJB Global radio in North Africa and the Middle East is reaching 1.3 million listeners every week. Decisions for Christ in this area are averaging 667 per hour, or over 16,000 each day.
On the other hand, Christianity is hated in 60 countries of the world where believers in Jesus Christ are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and martyred simply because they are Christians. It is estimated that 250 million Christians wake up each day facing the uncertainty of a life without rights. Approximately 176,000 followers of Jesus Christ are martyred annually for their faith. Often atrocities against Christians are ignored by the leaders of the West or grossly misrepresented by the media.
Lands that have had a background in the Christian faith have sold out to the unbiblical notion that all men are children of God, so live and let live. We have abandoned the Great Commission which commands us to preach the Gospel to every creature, and have replaced it with a social gospel that misses the mark.
God is reaching multitudes of people in the world without the presence or participation of His Church. He is accomplishing the greatest task in the world, originally assigned to us who believe in Christ, but which we have neglected for so long.
What does this mean to us? While no one knows how long we have until the Church Age comes to its conclusion, it is obvious that we are on the cutting edge of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Some day the last person to be converted to Christ will make that choice, and the purpose for the Church will be fulfilled. When that time comes the Father will say to the Son “Go get My children!,” and the true Church of Jesus Christ will meet Him in the air. Maranatha!
Rev. John W. Rush, Senior Pastor of Waverley Road Baptist Church, spent four years broadcasting with HCJB Global.