For far more evangelical leaders around the world, the influence of secularism, not Islam, is the major threat, according to a newly released survey.
Slightly over 70 percent of global evangelical leaders at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization – which convened over 4,000 evangelical leaders from over 190 nations last fall in South Africa – named secularism as a major threat, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey. By comparison, only 47 percent of the leaders said the influence of Islam is a major threat.
When combining major and minor threat considerations, 91 percent of the leaders felt secularism is a threat to evangelical Christianity, while 81 percent of the Christian leaders said Islam is a threat to the faith.
Evangelical leaders from the Global North (86 percent) more often felt secularism is a threat to the evangelical faith than those in the Global South (59 percent). And an overwhelming majority from North America, 90 percent, said the influence of secularism is a major threat. The figure is even higher among those in the United States (92 percent).
Concern about the threat of secularism is the lowest in the Middle East and North Africa, where only about a third of the Christian leaders viewed it as a major threat.
Despite all the talk about the clash of civilization between Islam and Christianity, Islam was ranked fourth out of a possible nine major threats to evangelical Christianity according to popularity of responses.
“To put it in context, it is not as though it is not seen as a threat, it is just that secularism in its associated practices tend to be seen as much more of a threat,” said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum, according to Voice of America.
Besides the influence of secularism, which topped the list, too much emphasis on consumerism and material goods, and sex and violence in popular culture were also more often viewed by evangelical leaders as major threats than Islam.
The survey was conducted at the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, South Africa last October. Out of the more than 4,000 attendees, about half or 2,196 evangelical leaders, participated in the survey.