Darrow Miller and Friends

Life Expectancy and the Economic Effect of the Protestant Reformation … Who Knew?

Perhaps few people are aware of the powerful impact the Protest Reformation had on life expectancy in Europe.

Prior to the 16th century European Reformation, virtually the entire world was poor including all of Europe. Andrew Bernstein, adjunct professor of philosophy at Pace University, writes:

Most people forget that pre-industrial Europe was vastly poorer than contemporary Africa and had a much lower life expectancy. … In parts of France, in the middle of the 17th century, only 58% reached their 15th birthday, and life expectancy was 20. In Ireland, life expectancy in 1800 was a mere 19 years. In early 18th century London, more than 74 percent of the children died before reaching the age of five.

Then a dramatic change occurred through Europe. The population in England doubled between 1750 and 1820, with child­hood mortality dropping to 31.8 percent by 1830. something hap­pened that enabled people to stay alive.*

Life expectancy in Europe grew from the Protestant Reformation

The catalyst for this dramatic transformation in Europe was the Reformation and the new work ethic that it spawned. If it can happen in Europe, then history would seem to teach that such transformation can happen in Africa as well. – from Against All Hope: Hope for Africa by Darrow Miller with Scott Allen
*Bernstein, Andrew; Capitalism is the Cure for Africa’s Problems; www.capmag.com; 7/1/04

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).

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