Immigrants spark a European revival

crossinhandsI’ve spent hours blogging about the Islamic conquest of Europe over the last last few years (For example here, here, here, here and here). It seems that countries like Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden in particular, are either indifferent, or simply powerless to resist being overwhelmed by Muslim immigrants. So sadly, a culture that for centuries was once almost exclusively Christian – at least in its outlook and values if not in spirit – is rapidly being subsumed by Islam.
And yet, as this recent piece by Mindy Belz at World Magazine demonstrates, perhaps all hope is not lost ~ Immigrant-led churches may revive the Continent’s Reformation legacy. The article focuses on the growth of Christianity in Belgium ~

By 2000 Antwerp’s Protestant population hovered at 0.5 percent. Today Protestants represent 4.5 percent of the population, with the dramatic growth coming from immigrants […]
(W)hile immigration is giving Islam a beachhead, some immigrants are reviving churches that had turned to sandcastles before a high tide of atheism. “We hope for revival, but mostly it comes from the immigrant communities and their charismatic churches,” says Klaas Van der Zwaag, a Dutch journalist and author of the two-volume Reformation Today (deBanier, 2017).

Belz focuses on a couple of growing Christian communities in Belgium, one in Vilvoode, a town that featured prominently in the original Reformation ~

Vilvoorde is a storied town, a suburb north of Brussels where authorities burned at the stake British scholar William Tyndale in 1536. The Reformation history written here, as in much of what was then part of the Netherlands, was overtaken by the Catholic resurgence of the Counter-Reformation. While the Dutch Reformed Church fueled the spread of Calvinist teaching and church life, real growth among Protestants in many parts of Western Europe today rises from other quarters—from Europe’s immigrant communities, primarily those where Islam dominates.


Arab Evangelical congregation at Vilvoorde, an ecumenical congregation that meets
less than a mile away from the site where William Tyndale was burned as a heretic.


Middle Eastern and African congregations across Europe, their numbers buoyed by a record 1.3 million migrants in 2015, outstrip in size and vitality more traditional Protestant churches. In Amsterdam, the majority of the city’s 350 churches are immigrant-led. In Vilvoorde the Arab congregation, though small, has larger gatherings than its Protestant counterparts. While Arab and African congregations in Belgium and the Netherlands are growing, the Dutch Reformed churches are becoming museums and concert halls, their teaching far removed from Biblical orthodoxy and their numbers dwindled.


One of the Arab Evangelical members shared this ~

“We come from old faith communities ourselves,” explained Samir, an Egyptian who asked that only his first name be used in print. “We believe our faith in Jesus Christ can reawaken European churches built before on faith in Jesus Christ alone.”


You never now… God moves in mysterious ways.

I’ll leave you with this inspiring truth ~

“Christianity has died many times and risen again, because it has a God who knows the way out of the grave.” ~ GK Chesterton

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