Christian Missionary Growth in the Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented Christian growth around the world through global missions. Mark Noll highlights the following areas of rapid growth between the years 1800 and 1914 in his book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. (pp. 40-42)

  • The number of Protestant foreign missionaries in the world grew from 100 missionaries in 1800 to over 21,000 missionaries by 1914.
  • The portion of the world’s population that was Christian grew from 23 percent in 1800 to almost 35 percent in 1914. This rate of growth represented the fastest proportional growth of the church since its earliest centuries — and over a period in which world population grew more rapidly than ever before.
  • The number of non-white Christians grew from 28 million in 1800 to 149 million in 1914. This meant that in 1914 the number of non-white Christians in the world was rapidly nearing the number of all Christians who were alive in 1800.
  • The number of languages with Scripture increased from 67 languages in 1800 to 676 languages in 1914.

For a great visual of this amazing growth, see the flash video map on the History of Religion.

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