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Ethiopian church grew despite communism

ICC Note

Ethiopia was a communist country from 1974-91 during which evangelicals grew in number in the midst of persecution.

By Matt Vande Bunte

Saturday, November 10, 2007 (The Grand Rapids Press) — So what’s behind the boom of Christianity in the global south? Communism.

At least, that’s the case in Ethiopia , said Tibebe Eshete, a visiting professor at Calvin College who is writing a book on the evangelical explosion in his homeland.

“The church had to go underground,” Eshete said about a revolutionary period of religious persecution. “When people face a hostile environment to their religious commitment, people will go out of their way to keep it. It really creates an energy in you that wasn’t there.”

…

“The revolution united evangelicals,” said Eshete, now a lay leader in an Ethiopian church in Grand Rapids . “Persecution made the church very strong and aggressive.”

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