Global South and Global North
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A. Views of Each Other
B. Status of Evangelicalism
evangelical leaders attending the Lausanne Congress were asked to assess the
past, present and future of evangelical Christianity in their respective
countries. Taken as a whole, their responses provide a window on the state of
evangelicalism around the world. Leaders from the Global South emerge as much more
optimistic than those from the Global North. A. Views of Each Other
survey asked about the relative amount of influence and financial support for
global Christianity from the West (defined as the U.S. and Europe) and the
Global South (defined as Africa, Asia and Latin America). About two-thirds
(68%) of all the leaders surveyed say that those from the Global South have
“too little influence” on global Christianity today, while 22% say the
influence of leaders from the Global South is about right and 7% say these
leaders have too much influence.
from all parts of the world tend to share the view that the South lacks
sufficient influence. In fact, leaders from the Global North are even more likely than their counterparts from the Global South to
say that evangelical leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America have too little
influence on global Christianity (78% vs. 62%).
on the influence of leaders from the U.S. and Europe are more mixed; 44% of all
respondents say such leaders have too much influence, 32% say their influence
is about right and 22% think they have too little influence on global
plurality of leaders from both the Global North and the Global South say that
leaders in the West have too much influence. Leaders who are themselves from
the Global North are a bit more likely than those from the Global South to say
that Western leaders have too much influence on global Christianity (47% vs.
it comes to financial support for global Christianity, evangelicals from both
the Global North and the Global South think there is much room for improvement
and tend to see their own efforts as wanting. More than half of all respondents
(55%) say evangelicals in Africa, Asia and Latin America provide “less than their
fair share” of financial support for global Christianity. About three-in-ten
(31%) say that Christians in the Global South provide about their fair share of
financial support, and 7% say they provide more than their fair share.
a 45% plurality says evangelicals in the West provide “less than their fair
share” of financial support for global Christianity. About three-in-ten (29%)
say that Christians in the West provide about their fair share, and 21% say
they provide more than their fair share.
tend to be more critical of their own regions. Respondents from the Global
North are more likely than those from the Global South to say that evangelicals
in the West provide less than their fair share of support (51% vs. 40%).
Similarly, respondents from the Global South are more likely than those in the
Global North to say that evangelicals in Africa, Asia and Latin America provide
less than their fair share of financial support (65% vs. 40%).B. Status of Evangelicalism
series of three questions probes the evangelical leaders’ assessments of the
current state of evangelical Christianity in their country, as well as their
optimism or pessimism about the near future.8
a zero-to-10 scale, with zero being the worst and 10 the best, the evangelical
leaders give an average (mean) rating of exactly 5.0 to the current state of
evangelical Christianity in their country today. Asked to assess the state of
evangelicalism five years ago, the leaders provide an average rating of 4.9,
which is little different from the average rating they give the state of
evangelicalism at present. The leaders tend to be more positive about the
future: They rate the expected state of evangelical Christianity in another
five years at 5.7 on average.
The average ratings, however, mask a fair amount of
variation. One-fifth of the leaders (20%) put the current state of
evangelicalism in their country at the most positive, top end of the scale (7
to 10), while 21% rate the current situation at the bottom end of the scale
(from 0 to 3). About six-in-ten (58%) rate the state of affairs in the middle
range (from 4 to 6 on the scale).
there are wide regional differences in the leaders’ assessments. Leaders from
the Global South are more likely than those in the Global North to see the
current state of evangelicalism in their country in positive terms. One quarter
of the Global South leaders rate the present at the top end of the scale (7 to
10), compared with just 13% of the Global North leaders who do the same. A
majority of both groups, however, rates the present state of evangelical
Christianity in the middle range of the scale (a mean of 5.3 for the Global
South vs. a mean of 4.7 for the Global North).
leaders hold a tempered sense of progress over the past five years. Four-in-ten
rate the current state of evangelical Christianity as better than where things
stood five years ago. But about a third (32%) consider it worse today, and 27%
see it as about the same.
Global South leaders are more likely than those in the
Global North to think that evangelicalism has made progress in recent years. A
majority of Global North leaders either see no progress for evangelical
Christianity over the past five years (34%) or see it as worse today than five
years ago (38%).
On the whole, leaders are more optimistic about the
future of evangelicalism. About six-in-ten (59%) leaders expect the future of
evangelical Christianity to be better than where things stand today. Leaders
from the Global South are especially upbeat about the future; 71% expect
progress for evangelical Christianity in the near future, compared with 44% of
leaders from the Global North who expect progress to be made over the next five
from the U.S. stand out from the rest as especially downbeat about the state of
evangelical Christianity at home. A 53% majority considers the state of
evangelical Christianity today to be worse than it was five years ago. And
nearly half of U.S. leaders (48%) are pessimistic about the future of
evangelicalism in the U.S.
opinion about whether evangelicals are increasing or losing influence is divided, with 51% of the leaders saying
that evangelicals are losing influence in their countries and 46% saying that
evangelicals are increasing their influence.
again, however, there are wide differences of perspective on this issue.
Leaders in the Global South think evangelicals are gaining influence on life in
their countries, by a margin of 58% to 39%. By contrast, two-thirds of those in
the Global North (66%) say that evangelicals are losing influence, while just
31% think evangelicals are gaining influence. Leaders from the United States
are particularly pessimistic; only 17% say evangelicals have an increasing
influence on life in the U.S. today, while 82% say evangelicals are losing
8 These questions, adapted from quality-of-life ratings first developed in the
mid-20th century by Hadley Cantril and colleagues, use
what researchers call a “self-anchoring scale.” Respondents first give a
numerical rating of the present state of evangelicalism. Then, having anchored
their assessment of evangelicalism in the present, they are asked to rate the
past and future in the same way. Respondents are not asked directly whether
they think the future (or the past) of evangelicalism is better or worse than
the present; they are simply asked to rate three points in time on the same
numerical scale. See Hadley Cantril, The Pattern of Human
Concerns, Rutgers University Press, 1965. (return to text)
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