Skip to comments.Half of Brazil's Population to be Evangelical Christian by 2020
Posted on 02/21/2011 2:56:48 PM PST by wmfights
An international missions organization reports that evangelicals are expected to reach 57.4 million in Brazil this year in accordance with the evangelical annual growth rate of 7.42 percent.
Researchers at "Servindo aos Pastores e Líderes" (SEPAL) announced this 2011 figure last Monday based on findings from its groundbreaking study last year that predicted Brazil's evangelical growth rate over the next decade.
SEPAL had conducted this study utilizing results from Brazil's Census 2000 survey by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) and other information from a March 2007 study conducted by Datafolha, a major domestic information firm.
Based on figures obtained from both sources, SEPAL concluded that over half of the nation's population will be evangelical in less than a decade.
"We believe 52 per cent of the population will be evangelical by 2020, or about 109.3 million evangelicals within a total population of 209.3 million," said SEPAL researcher Luis André Brunet, in an interview with The Christian Post this week.
Brunet said that the findings were 95 percent accurate provided that the evangelical growth rate from 1990 to 2000 remains consistent in the next 40 years.
In 2010, Epoca, a well-read news magazine in Brazil, released figures from studies on evangelical growth. Those interviewed included theologians and anthropologists, who unanimously agreed that evangelicals were increasingly influencing all spheres of Brazilian life concluding that the evangelical presence has contributed to the decline in alcoholism, increase in school enrollment, and reduction in the number of broken homes.
However, Brunet was quick to point out that Christians should "think beyond the numbers" before drawing conclusions.
"If we consider two lines of thought, a revival is not happening in Brazil," he said, adding that revival is characterized not just by "mass conversion of people, but also profound changes in social thinking as influenced by born-again Christians."
First, Brunet attributed growth to "aggressive evangelical outreach, adoption of more flexible [church] rules, society's openness to Christian life, and an increasingly influential middle class."
Brunet also cited a substantially weaker evangelical presence in Brazil's northeastern region. According to the researcher, the region could be divided into A and B:
"A" represents beachside and large urbanized environments, where the evangelical growth rate is at modest but acceptable levels. "B" encompasses rural areas where evangelicals rarely exceed 1% of the local population.
Second, says Brunet, evangelical growth has been held in check by "strong Roman Catholic roots in the population, in addition to age-old mysticism." In addition, poorer road conditions and difficult access to mass media also contribute to difficulties in evangelical outreach.
Besides social conditions, Brunet adds, church growth has been hampered by internal matters especially those involving finances.
"Actually, the reason for this is that revenue is so minimal, that the mission cannot be self-sustained in the long term," Brunet continued.
In one SEPAL case study, the city of Quinze de Novembro has about 80.4% evangelicals, while its neighboring town of Alto Alegre has that of only 0.28%.
"The most evangelized city [is] beside one of the least evangelized cities of the country," commented Brunet, emphasizing that Brazil has "mostly unprepared leadership that lacks direction in theology, ecclesiology and missiology."
"Will life change in a Protestant-majority country," he asked, expressing concern that Brazil's growing prosperity may tempt Christian leaders towards materialism.
"The middle class is expected to double over the next year," said Brunet, saying that there are signs more materialistic leaders have begun leading their flock astray with prosperity theology. In addition, he maintained, evangelicalism has to overcome the "superficiality of life in Brazilian people."
"We see this [superficiality] among Brazilian evangelicals today, and it seems that it will remain for the next years, accelerating the duality between 'religious life' and 'secular life,' which already exists today," he said. "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the soul of a heartless world... It is the opium of the people. That is any human impulse caused by dissatisfaction for political, economic or social reasons."
Brunet mentioned "that selfishness and individualism present in these days can also be seen in religious life."
"Although some believers have concern for their neighbors, in other words other people, we can say that the majority are only concerned about their own welfare," he said.
At this time of writing, SEPAL researchers are awaiting the results from the IBGE 2010 census to confirm the projected growth rate of evangelicals in the Brazilian population. Upon doing so, SEPAL will create an outreach map based on comparing old and new data.
Conclusively, Brunet believes, positive changes can occur including the creation of stronger institutions representing evangelicals "who cry aloud for the world of God."
"We must indeed pray to the Lord of the heavens that this transformation of the Brazil may be genuine according to the standards presented in the Gospel of Christ."
Where’s Rosie O’Donnell on this one? She said that radical Christianity is as big a threat as radical Islam. And she believes that evangelicals are radical. I guess she and her family cruise will not be docking in Rio on their next cruise.
It’s as good as any other long term projection.
But all those problems in such a heavily Catholic country?
Why, they must not have been "properly" catechized......
Oh, Lord, what You are doing there, do everywhere.
The good news is that this number apparently includes Catholics, since Protestants make up only 15-22% of the population. And no, that’s not because the Catholic Church is counting as its members people who have converted to Catholicism; that’s based on poll data. More good news is that it does NOT include members of African folk religions who habitually describe themselves as Catholic, despite never having set foot in a Catholic church. And, the decline of mainstream Christianity has largely halted.
The bad news is that the 15-22% Protestant figure includes all non-Catholic, non-Orthodox Brazilians who call themselves “Christian,” including some crazy local sects which have simply renamed “magic” as “charismatic gifts.” The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God is the 2nd or 3rd largest Protestant denomination after Assemblies of God and, arguably, the Christian Congregation of Brazil. They’re pretty scary. The Protestant growth is mostly among these denominations.
Why would Catholics call themselves “Evangelical Christians?” Because the Catholic Charismatic Revival is explosively popular, and it has been a strong force in arguing that Catholics must adhere to the command of the gospel to evangelize the world. I’d say that in this way the exchange between Catholics and Protestants has been quite fruitful.
Other Brazilian beliefs:
97% Of Brazilians reported to believe in God.
93% Reported they believe Jesus Christ rose after death;
92% that the Holy Spirit exists;
87% in the occurrence of miracles;
86% that Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin;
77% that Jesus will return to Earth at the end of time;
75% Reported to believe in the Devi
65% that the sacramental bread is the body of Jesus;
(I wish the wording was better.)
65% of those "Catholics" don't actually bother to attend church with any regularity, one of the bare minimum requirements of their faith.
Do you think they're well catechized? By whom? The TV set?
I agree with you. It's so much better for them to come to faith then fall to whatever the "flavor of the month" is. I believe one distinctive of Evangelical faith is the focus on your direct personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A good thing in my book.
Devi is Sanskrit for "goddess." Amazing to see Hindu influence so far from India.
Some estimates. I pulled up an evangelical site which put the 50% date at 2050. Where are those estimates coming from? Who knows? I have no good census data trends: the CIA Factbook puts Catholics at about 75%.
I love the conclusions: join the Protestants and give up drinking, you get your job, wife, house, kids and dog back. And your pickup truck is whole again.
A country song played backwards...
The 2006 edition had the same figures.