- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has been predominantly Muslim since the Ottoman Muslim conquest of the 15th century. Christianity had some presence, thanks largely to Catholic Croatia to the north and west and Orthodox Serbia to the east, but there was little room for Protestantism, the closest enclave being in more distant Transylvania.A Lutheran church was formed in the 1750s. In 1865, Franz Tabor, a Baptist, moved to Sarajevo. His work was supplemented in the next decade by the arrival of representatives of the Church of the Nazarene. The small amount of Protestant work was totally disrupted by World War II and the subsequent establishment of a Marxist Yugoslavian regime under Marshal Josip Tito (1892-1980). With the fall of Marxism and the dismantling of Yugoslavia, Bosnia emerged as an independent nation. In 1992, it declared its intention to become the first Islamic state in Europe. Moves to implement the declaration resulted in civil war (a third of the country being ethnic Serbs, with another large minority of Croats). Forces from Croatia and Serbia were soon involved in the fighting. Both sides became known for their brutality and actions against civilians. A fragile peace was brought to the region toward the end of the decade.The raging conflicts kept missionaries away, in contrast to other post-Marxist countries such as Romania and Hungary. The older churches, by now thoroughly indigenous in character, have only begun to recover. The largest work was reported by the Jehovah's Witnesses, with more than 1,300 members, followed closely by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the only Protestant church with more than 1,000 members. Several other groups have initiated work, including the Christian Brethren and the New Apostolic Church. Some of the Evangelical organizations worked together to found the Bosnia and Herzegovina Bible Society in 1999 to coordinate the publication of the Bible and Christian literature.Further reading:■ David Barret, The Encyclopedia of World Christianity, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)■ Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World, 21st Century Edition (Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Paternoster, 2001).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.