But this stunning article in London's Times Online indicates that Western soil will soon be growing rockier far more rapidly than we perhaps anticipated:
The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years ... The [Muslim] population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society ... But while the biggest Christian population is among over-70s bracket, for Muslims it is the under-4s.The implications of this phenomenon for British society are legion, but those are for another blog. I want to address it in terms of what it means for Christians who live in the West. Europe is in the midst of a massive demographic shift, and as those "under-4s" grow up, it will become far more pronounced. It's projected that within the next few years, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam will become majority Muslim. This is unlikely to shift back anytime soon, since one of the reasons the Western church hasn't grown is that Western Christians don't have children at nearly the rate they used to.
So assuming this trend is (1) going to accelerate and (2) going to make its way across the Atlantic, how are we to respond? How would it change our approach to ministry if the majority of our fellow citizens were not even nominally Christian? Or, to quote the Jailbreaker:
Imagine a time in America when we enter an age where, just as Jesus predicted, God’s people are hunted down and killed. No more First Amendment Clause to protect our right to freely gather and worship as we please; no more tax-exempt status for church property or Christian organization budgets; no more “full-time” Christian workers receiving a salary for their labor; in short, no more tolerance for God’s people and a great increase in hostility toward us.Now, I am not suggesting that your Muslim friends and neighbors are secretly plotting your demise. Rather I am saying that change is coming to the Western civilization--the bosum in which the church has nestled--perhaps in ways we have not yet begun to anticipate.
Ultimately, we must be prepared to answer the crucial questions: Who are we as Christians? How will we prepare our children to live and minister in the society they will inherit? When all the supports are stripped away, what do we truly believe about Jesus Christ and His gospel?