The amazing growth of new Christians from an Islamic background

New figures count around ten million new Christians from an Islamic background.

A recent academic paper by Duane Millar and Patrick Johnstone (disclaimer: Patrick is a colleague of mine) has tried to put numbers on this recent, but widely-observed phenomenon. Indonesia leads the way with a well-established Christian movement that has lasted since the 1960s.

More recently, Christ-followers from an Islamic background have started to appear in large numbers in parts of Africa, in South Asia and Iran and some Western countries. The study claims that even Saudi Arabia, home of Islam, is home to 60,000 Islamic-heritage followers of Christ.

The study dovetails with a recent book by Southern Baptist researcher David Garrett A Wind in the House of Islam, that counts no mass movements to Christ at all in the Islamic world’s first 1000 years, two in the mid-twentieth century, a further 11 in the final decade of the twentieth century, and 69 more since then. Proof, as Garrett claims, that ‘something is happening.’

Here is Millar and Johnstone’s list of the countries that have 10,000 or more or more followers of Christ with an Islamic background. Their figures are based on 2010, and will have increased in most cases since.

Country Christians of a Muslim heritage
6 500 000
600 000
United States
450 000
Ethiopia 400 000
Algeria 380 000
Burkina Faso 200 000
Tanzania 180 000
130 000
100 000
90 000
Saudi Arabia
60 000
50 000
50 000
45 000
43 000
40 000
40 000
35 000
Sudan 30 000
United Kingdom 25 000
Australia 20 000
Kyrgyzstan 19 000
Germany 15 000
12 000
10 000
10 000


Swing low, sweet chariot
Two very big ideas