Discouraging statistics from the UK

This report on church attendance and religious affiliation in the United Kingdom is pretty discouraging, especially regarding the Church of England.   From Christian Today, by Ruth Gledhill:

The decline in religious affiliation is hitting the Church of England particularly hard, according to the survey. Just 15 per cent of people in Britain consider themselves Anglican.

This is half the proportion who said they were Anglican in 2000.

A lot of this will be the result of deaths of members of the baby boomer generation. But this signals problems for the Church of England, which is clearly failing to replace this older generation with younger members.

Just three per cent of those aged 18-24 described themselves as Anglican, compared to 40 per cent of those aged 75 and over.

The figures in the survey contrast with the numbers claimed by the Anglican Communion, which claims membership of more than 85 million members. This is based on figures compiled by the World Council of Churches which puts membership of the Church of England at  25 million – even though far fewer than one million actually go to church each Sunday.

By contrast, the Roman Catholic church is remaining relatively stable.

The proportion of people describing themselves as Catholic has remained at around one in 10 over the past 30 years. Around one in 20 (six per cent) of people belong to non-Christian religions.

The fall in religious affiliation has been driven, at least in part, by young people. In 2016, seven in 10 of young people aged 18-24 said they had no religion, up from 62 in 2015 – a massive decline over just one year.


Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research, said: .

‘We know from the British Social Attitudes survey that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion. With falling numbers some faith leaders might wonder whether they should be doing more to take their congregation’s lead on adapting to how society is changing.’

More cowbell!  Right, Mr. Harding?  Could it be the falling numbers are the result of the Church of England’s having already bowed to the zeitgeist?

Up higher in the article, Ruth Gledhill writes:

Figures released earlier from the same survey showed that  that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion.

This is in sharp contrast to the Church of England, where the conservative evangelicalism currently in the ascendancy is resolutely committed to an interpretation of the Bible opposed to same-sex marriage.
I think the debates over sexual morality mask a much deeper issue and that’s whether one is willing to wholly surrender one’s life to God or not.
I do not believe one ever experiences the fruits of the Spirit without that surrender.  But once one has experienced that supernatural peace that passes understanding, the love that can only come from Christ, supernatural hope and faith—how can one maintain that?  It’s not by allowing oneself to be seduced by the world, the flesh and the devil.
Young people will be attracted to what demands sacrifice and total consecration.   Unfortunately,  much of Christianity seems kind of namby-pamby and compromised say compared with Islam.
When Christianity is presented as noble, sacrificial, requiring one’s everything, for a God, who in Jesus Christ, has given everything for you, and asks us to take up our cross and follow Him, then it’s going to be all that more attractive to young people.

2 thoughts on “Discouraging statistics from the UK

  1. Pingback: Decline in religious affiliation hitting the CofE hard – The Portsmouth Mission Blog

  2. These statistics actually strike me as very encouraging. They show that the decline is in Christian denominations, or segments thereof, that have abandoned biblical values are in decline, while those that uphold biblical values — in this case, the evangelical wing of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England — are not.

    It’s really quite simple. God has little use for congregations that don’t live and breathe the Truth, regardless of their denominational label. Thus, they wither while those that preach the gospel in its fullness grow.

    The statistics pertaining to the young, however, point to a much more serious and urgent situation. Over my lifetime, there has been a progression whereby one generation went away to college and stopped going to church except when visiting their parents, but sent their children for spiritual instruction and the sacraments because their parents expected them to do so, and the next generation did not even bother to do that — with the consequence that many children now grow up with no spiritual formation, instruction, or roots. The only way to buck this trend is to evangelize young adults — which requires evangelical ministry in places where young adults aggregate such as college and university campuses and military and naval bases.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s