The 21st Century: Century of Christianity?

The 19th century was the greatest century of missionary advance. It was a century of astounding inventions and of spectacular advances in technology. Many countries in Europe and overseas experienced dramatic spiritual revivals. Christian missionaries won whole tribes and nations to Christ, in the remotest regions of the globe. Christianity came to the beginning of the 20th century on a rising and apparently unstoppable tide. Christianity was gaining spectacular momentum, as missionaries from Europe were evangelising and discipling virtually every tribe and nation. The Protestant faith had far outstripped the Catholic and Orthodox branches in missionary activity, vitality and initiative. From being confined almost entirely to North Western Europe, the British Isles and a narrow strip on the Eastern seaboard of North America, and with a very small outpost at the Cape of Good Hope, the Protestant faith in the 19th century had become a truly international faith. It was the dominant faith of the most productive, powerful and prosperous nations in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Amidst irrepressible optimism, many were openly speaking of the beginning of the Biblical millennium on earth.

In 1910, Christian nations ruled virtually the whole world. With the exception of China, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire, the globe was dominated by Christian powers. Either Protestant, as in the case of Great Britain, Germany and the United States; Roman Catholic as in the case of the Austrian, Hungarian Empire, the French Empire, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Etc.; or Orthodox, as in the case of the Russian Empire.

Following the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna had ushered in a century of comparative peace, astounding increases in population, and unprecedented increases in productivity and standards of living. The 19th century had been a century of astounding achievements, growth and expansion. By 1910, the world was being led by people who had traditionally been known as Christian.

At the first World Missions Congress in Edinburgh in 1910, delegates were anticipating the extinction of all false religions by 1960. The consensus of the speakers at Edinburgh 1910, was that every tribe and nation will have been thoroughly evangelized and discipled by 1960. They were anticipating the fulfilment of the Great Commission and the beginning of the Biblical Millennium on earth - before the end of the 20th century!

[Read the rest of the article at World History Institute.]