Justin Taylor reports:
Robert Louis Wilken, emeritus professor of history at the University of Virginia:
At the end of the first century there were fewer than ten thousand Christians in the Roman Empire. The population at the time numbered some sixty million, which meant that Christians made up one hundredth of one percent or 0.0017 percent according to the figures of a contemporary sociologist.
Of course, such numbers are estimates and must be taken with a grain of salt. That said, they do bring Jesus’ words from Luke 12:32 to mind and remind us as well of the time of Gideon when God said to decrease – rather than increase – the number of warriors to be deployed for battle (see Judges 7, where God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300). As God said through Jonathan, “The Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6).
For the rest of this post from Justin Taylor, see Early Church Growth – Justin Taylor.