by Gorden and Cheryl Doss, courtesy Adventist Reivew
In November 11, 1918, World War I ground to a halt. The 2018 centennial of the ceasefire that ended that global conflict provides a historical perspective for some thoughtful reflection. During the past 100 years, how has the world changed? How has the Adventist Church changed? And what are the implications for Adventist mission?
In 1918, about 1.8 billion people inhabited Planet Earth. By 2018 that number has exploded to an estimated 7.8 billion.1 In other words, the world population has more than quadrupled since World War I ended. This most basic metric of the challenge of world missions is hard to grasp fully.
During the twentieth century the number of people who self-identify as Christians has remained constant at one third of the population. Christianity, in its many forms, remains the largest of the world religions, followed by Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The total number of Christians has grown from about 0.6 billion to 2.6 billion. On the other hand, the two thirds of the population that does not claim to be Christian, that stands in the greatest need of the good news, has grown from about 1.2 billion to 5.2 billion.