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1. AFRICA HAS 631 MILLION CHRISTIANS
It was a great privilege for me to attend the third Global Christian Forum (GCF) in Bogota (Columbia) on 23-27 April 2018. “Together Christians are called to take up the challenges of peace, unity and costly discipleship”, the Global Christian Forum said on 27 April in a closing message to churches world wide.
Participants brought together the widest variety of Christian traditions. They came from the Catholic Church (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), the Pentecostal World Fellowship, the World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Alliance together with those of many other Christian World Communions and international Christian organisations. We were 251 in total. The theme was ‘Let mutual love continue’ (Heb 13:1).
The meeting created a useful platform of sharing stories and faith experiences. It was for me surprising to hear stories and experiences, like that of ours, from the participants’ encounter with Lord Jesus. Three factors that emerged were (i) Africa’s new place in global Christianity as of 2018, (ii) the rise of Independent Christianity and (iii) Christians who identify themselves separately from Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants.
These factors are currently researched by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, in the United States of America. Over the last 100-year period, Christian affiliation has decreased slightly in the northern hemisphere and increased substantially in the southern hemisphere.
One aspect that was fascinating with the statistics was that, for the first time, Africa has more Christians in comparison with other continents. Africa has 631 million Christians. This translates to 45% Christians in Africa. The global picture, however is not good at all. Christians are 2.5 Billion which is equivalent to 33% of the current world’s population.
The number of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians has shown exponential growth and is second to that of the Catholics. While the numbers make one feel good the question that remains is: What is the impact of these numbers in the world? If one looks at South Africa with its over 83% Christians one would have expected a prosperous and peaceful country, but we know that it is not the case. We, as South-Africans, need to do more soul searching with a view to making our confession of faith compatible to our lifestyle.
A true AFM member must be a follower of Jesus in word and in deeds.
2. AFM GENERAL BUSINESS MEETING (GBM)
The AFM National Office is looking forward to hosting the 2018 General Business Meeting. We can confirm the following:
Date: 9-13 September 2018
Venue: AFM Woord en Lewe (Boksburg)
Early Registration Fee: R300 per person before/on 30 June
Late Registration Fee: R350 per person
Please take note that a Circular will be distributed to all assemblies. For an electronic copy refer to the Events page on the AFM website: http://afm-ags.org/category/events/. On this page you will also find:
The Registration Form
Annexure A: Agenda
Annexure E: Programme
3. OTHER UPCOMING AFM CONFERENCES