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Thursday, March 10, 2005
HUGE UK CHURCH SURVEY SAYS PEWS EMPTYING BECAUSE CHRISTIANITY NO LONGER PREACHED
British Public Wants Churches To Cease Being ‘Silent’ And ‘Lukewarm’ In Face Of Moral Collapse
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
LONDON, ENGLAND (ANS) -- Current conventional
wisdom in Britain says that with Christian moral values and legal protections
under assault on all sides, the reason pews are emptying is that traditional
religion is not relevant.
But, according to a story circulated by www.LifeSiteNews.com a new survey of thousands of churchgoers
in the United Kingdom says the opposite and indicates that the emptying of the
churches has been caused mainly by preaching and pastoral care that has been
emptied of moral or doctrinal Christian content.
The survey addressed
questions about why church attendance was falling so dramatically in the UK but
growing elsewhere, even though two-thirds of the British population believes in
The results of the year-long survey of 14,000 UK residents by the
interdenominational Ecumenical Research Committee has been called 'surprising'
by mainstream secular and Christian media.
The overwhelming response is
to call on churches "to robustly defend moral values with conviction and courage
and cease being 'silent' and 'lukewarm' in the face of moral and social
In an introduction, Lord Bromley Betchworth said: "Those who
spoke, did so with one voice…an alarming indication that there are multitudes of
people across Britain and Ireland who feel that their views are not being heard
The vast majority of the people in Britain and Ireland,
he says, are still morally conservative. "They are appalled that moral values
and treasured beliefs are being stood on their head and want churches to play a
leading role in standing up for these things."
The survey itself asked
four simple questions and avoided 'tick-box' responses in favor of written
letters. The huge response was a surprise in itself and reflected a growing
frustration and anger felt by many ordinary people about the direction of
churches and society in general.
Responses displayed a widespread sense
of frustration and anger at what was happening to the churches in Britain and
Many gave variations on the response, "Why hasn’t a survey like
this been done before, so we can speak?" "At last, someone is listening, thank
you so much," and "Thank you for the chance to express our beliefs without
Several 'traditionalist' Anglican clerics said that they had "to
keep their own views to themselves in case their bishop, who held opposing
beliefs, would remove them from their diocese."
Many Catholics in North
America have written that a similar situation exists there in which the churches
are controlled exclusively by bishops and lay administrators who brook no
Christian opposition to their officially sanctioned left-liberal dissent from
Ninety-one percent of responses followed a uniform theme that
the decline in traditional Christian moral and doctrinal teaching has caused the
outflux of congregations.
They listed the lack of apologetics, the
reasoned defense and explanation of Christian doctrine, as one of the main
reasons for the collapse. "It’s a myth today that the people of this country
have rejected Christianity; they simply haven’t been told enough about it to
either accept or reject it," wrote one respondent.
Thousands of letters
also cited the lack of emphasis on the holiness of God and the need for personal
moral conversion. The desire for teaching on holiness, was prevalent and has
been influenced, said the authors, by Mel Gibson’s film, the Passion of the
Christ. Many responded that the churches now teach easy forgiveness; an attitude
that 'God loves me anyway,' and that there is no need to attend church or live a
morally demanding Christian life.
The overwhelming majority of
respondents were vehemently opposed to ordaining homosexuals and blamed the
churches for the rise in pedophilia scandals because of the prevalence of
homosexuals in the clergy.
Some celibate homosexuals wrote saying that
the prevalence of support for homosexuality in the churches is undermining their
efforts to live chastely.
One young man wrote, "For sections of the
Church to suddenly say that my struggle (to remain chaste)…was for nothing and
that it would have been OK to have given in, would be to deny my personal cross
for Christ and mock the faithfulness I have shown Him."
letters asked for a return to traditional liturgy and pointed out that attempts
to attract younger people with jazzed-up offerings had failed and had alienated
older parishioners. Over 450 said they drove vast distances to attend a
traditional liturgical celebration. 1,500 letters complained that the modern
liturgies "bordered on entertainment rather than worship."
The survey has
supported what Christians themselves have been saying for decades, that there is
little point in attending a church whose message is no different from that of
the materialistic secular world.
Read the Survey at: http://www.plain-truth.org.uk/churchsurveyreport.pdf. (PDF
format, Adobe Acrobat required.)
|** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, CA. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in Sept., 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.
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Rev Isaac Newton Johnson is an Indian Evangelist since 1976 working with non-Christian brothers in North India. He is international media missionary and Christian speaker. He has been invited by SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June-July, 2004 as Guest Speaker from India. He preached in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Korean brothers there. Five brothers and one sister of Indian origin accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and baptized during his ministry in South Korea. He has founded “Voice of Christians Evangelical Church” at Ludhiana, India in 1999 (A House Church) working among poorest of poor people, imparting education to them and sharing the good news of Lord Jesus Christ. (Pictured: Rev Isaac Newton Johnson being honored in SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June 2004). He needs committed prayer partners and Church ministry supporters around the world to proclaim the Gospel in India and to the end of the earth.
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