Today, there are more Christians living in Africa than any other continent in the world. According to data published by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, there are more than 631 million Christians that currently reside in Africa, accounting for 45 percent of the continent’s population. By the year 2060, six of the top ten countries with the largest Christian populations will be in Africa, according to a Pew Research Center report. Although Christianity in Africa is widespread, the nations situated in the Southern, Southeast, and Central regions of the continent are particularly dominated by Christians.
Arrival of Christianity to Africa
Christianity arrived in Africa in the late 1st or early 2nd century AD, making these Christian communities some of the earliest in the world. It is believed that Mark the Evangelist brought Christianity from Jerusalem to Alexandria in the year 43 before becoming the first bishop to serve the Alexandria Orthodox Church. Once it was introduced to Africa, Christianity slowly spread from Alexandria to Ethiopia. While Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, many areas of North Africa continued to practice Islam until only the last century.
Christianity in Africa Today
Today, Christianity it is one of the most commonly practiced religions in the continent. The rapid growth of Christianity is from African evangelism, as well as high birth rates throughout the last few decades. Now, there are countless variations of the religion being practiced throughout the continent, ranging from newer African-Christian denominations which are popular in Nigeria to the more ancient forms of Oriental Orthodox Christianity which is still practiced throughout Ethiopia, Egypt, and Eritrea.
In Zaire, Christians account for more than 95.4 percent of the population and in Angola, it is 94.1 percent. Christianity accounts for 86.9 percent of the population in Swaziland and 82.4 percent in Zambia. There are also many other countries in Africa with high Christian populations, such as Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Saint Helena, Seychelles, and South Africa. By the year 2060, it is estimated that more than four-in-ten Christians will reside in sub-Saharan Africa. With many Christians in this region being relatively young and with children, the
Christian religion is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades.
Aside: When determining the population of Christianity in Africa, most resources use the religion as a blanket term, referring to all denominations such as Protestants, Catholics, Independents, and Orthodox. These religious practices are then often divided further into denominations, however Catholics maintain the highest-concentration.
Future of Christianity in Africa
The future of Christianity is undeniable in Africa as the continent continues to see explosive growth. However, there is no refuting the challenges faced by the African church and continent as a whole. Poverty, corruption, conflict, gender-based violence, climate change, and similar challenges have made it difficult for Africa to prosper. However, the evangelical church is committed to advancing justice, peace, and righteousness throughout the continent. In addition, the Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) is working with the African church to develop a biblical vision that reflects Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want – a strategic framework for growth and sustainability.
Spreading the Gospel in Africa
As religious persecution continues to spread through Africa, missionaries are diligently working to spread the word of God throughout the nation. Organizations, such as The Last Well, have made it their mission to transform countries in Africa like Liberia by not only providing access to safe drinking water, but also by spreading the gospel. These organizations aim to preach the gospel to every village they serve, using the provision of safe drinking water as a symbol of God’s love. These teachings are bringing the people of Africa together as they share the good news of Jesus Christ.
The African country of Liberia, a country located on the West coast of Africa, has a density of approximately 40 people per square kilometer. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world due to a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, resulting in significant changes to the infrastructure of the country. For these reasons, The Last Well is committed to bringing clean drinking water to the country of Liberia, and spreading God’s word. For more information about the state of Christianity in Africa, or how you can help spread God’s message, contact The Last Well today.