Multiculturalism in United States Christianity is "a done deal" according to a Chicago seminary professor who also noted that churches must pick up the trend if they are to survive.
Speaking as a part of January's lecture series at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Seminary, said it is crucial for church leaders to realize that Christianity is no longer a faith of "white, middle-class people who live in the suburbs."
"We are living in an age where the majority of Christians are non-white," said Rah, who gave surprising statistics to back his claims.
The professor explained that in 1900 almost 70 percent of the Christians in the world lived in Europe and the U.S. and they were predominately white. By 2005, that number had dropped to 40 percent, and a large percentage of Christians were living in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Rah estimates that by 2050, 80 to 90 percent of the world's Christians will be non-white, representing a "complete turnover of the global demographic of global Christianity."
Rah said that churches in the United States have shown signs of hope in embracing such trends, although the current number of multicultural congregations in the country remains at less than 8 percent.
"American churches are starting to become more diverse than society as a whole" in terms of inclusiveness, Rah said.
"The more ethnically diverse the denomination, the more likely it is to grow," he added. "We are right on the cusp of some major changes."
In a meeting with local church leaders after the lecture, Pastor Alton Hardy of Madison Square Christian Reformed Church in Michigan said that he believes Rah is sharing a prophetic message.
"We are embarking on something in the church that is much bigger than ourselves. In order to be truly diverse something needs to happen."
"We need to go deeper and we need Jesus' help to do it."