According to the editors of the World Christian Encyclopedia there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world today. The authors have compiled global diagrams, statistics on martyrdom, geo- political- religious blocs, and other unusual tidbits, such as:
The 5 most dangerous of all Christian vocations (over 3% murder rates) are: bishops, evangelists, catechists, colporteurs, foreign missionaries.
Books primarily about Jesus in todayâ€™s libraries number 175,000 different titles in 500 lan – guages, in – creasing by 4 newly published every day.
Church treasurers are embezzling each year $16 billion out of church funds, but only 5% ever get found out.
Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world.
The total cost of Christian outreach averages $330,000 for each and every newly baptized person.
My Aunt Mary didn’t know squat about geopolitical-religious blocs or Christian outreach averages. But one thing was indisputable about the old school, old world woman — she loved the Lord. Which disturbed me at the time. Why?
Because Aunt Mary was a Catholic.
I was raised a Catholic, drifted far from it and finally, broke hard. When I became a Christian in the spring of 1980, I quickly understood that the sterile rituals of my youth were worlds apart from my newfound relationship with Christ. I quickly found out some other things, too.
That’s just the type of info a young, impressionable believer needs to know, right? Wrong! I marched over to my parents’ house, Bible in tow, spouted some Scripture and assigned them to hell. Along with the Pope.
Only six months into the faith and I’d become an eye-plucker. Kudos, Nimrod.
The assault was fueled by a small tract. Printed by Chick Publications, the graphic artwork and grim tone fueled my ignorant zeal. Jack Chick, his line of comic tracts and his anti-Catholic propoganda, have become almost legendary. Articles like The Satanic Roots of the Catholic Church sent me back to my Catholic friends with bullhorn blazing fervor. “Come out from among them,” I bellowed, “and be ye separate.” I purchased JC’s anti-Catholic reference bible, The Two Babylons, and ingested it with glee.
And my eye pile grew.
But Aunt Mary had to spoil it. She would chuckle at my rants and say, “God love you, Mickey.” Then she’d take my head in her hands, kiss my forehead and pledge her continued prayer. Which confused me to no end. “She’s a Catholic,” I wondered, “so how can she be saved?” In spite of her affiliation with the antichrist and the Great Whore of Babylon, the woman loved Jesus. And that reality, as uncomfortable as it was, kept me from complete blindness.
A little more…