The ‘Third Spreading’

Origins and Development of Protestant Evangelical Christianity in Contemporary Mongolia

In: Inner Asia
Denise A. Austin Alphacrucis College Parramatta Australia

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Christianity has had a long and often turbulent history in Mongolia. When socialism crumbled finally, in 1990, there were no more than 20 Christians in the whole nation. Today, there are up to 100,000 adherents, 90 per cent of whom are Protestant evangelical. Prominent Mongolian Christian leader, Purevdorj Jamsran, suggests that there are three distinct periods in this development: formation (1991–1995); growth and transition (1996–2005); and identity (2006–present). Through analysing primary and secondary materials, conducting three field trips to gather oral interviews and using a Pentecostal case study, I explore these three periods. I argue that Protestant evangelicalism exploded onto the scene assisted by political upheaval, international allure, youthful enthusiasm and the use of mass media. Growth and transition progressed via contextualisation, ecumenical unity and community engagement. Finally, a sense of identity was established through accelerated maturation processes.

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