Skip to comments.Liberal and weak clergy blamed for empty pews (U.K.)
Posted on 03/07/2005 9:13:24 AM PST by nickcarraway
CHURCHGOING is in freefall in Britain because clergy and ministers are failing to stand up for moral values and treasured beliefs, a new survey has found.
Churches are being silent and lukewarm in the face of moral and social collapse, according to the £20,000, year-long study of 14,000 British churchgoers and those who have left the Church.
Researchers found a widespread sense of anger and frustration at what was happening to churches in the UK and Ireland. The 42-page report is an indictment of modern preaching and worship, illustrating how excessive liberalism and lack of conviction are driving worshippers from the pews.
The report portrays a desire for sermons based on the Bible and traditional teaching, rather than on politics, social affairs or audience-pleasing stunts.
The report calls for better apologetics, or Christian teaching, and claims that many clergy are unable to mount a convincing argument in defence of Christianity and are not interested in trying. When asked to explain why Christianity might be true, the common response is: It is just a matter of faith.
The report says: This has resulted in a growing number of people being left with the false impression that there are no strong reasons for Christian belief. Ultimately they abandon churchgoing and are mystified that Christianity continues to grow elsewhere in the world.
The report blames the contemporary practice of teaching the universal nature of Gods love. Because people believe God will continue to love them no matter what they do, they no longer see any need to go to church to confess their sins or seek guidance on how to change their lives. The aim was to explore the reasons why Christianity is in decline in Britain and Ireland but thrives in other parts of the world, including prosperous countries such as the US.
Researchers found that the thousands of people who still do go to church do so out of a sense of duty and not because it brings them any fulfilment. They report widespread criticism of the current fashion for family or all age services for bordering on entertainment rather than worship. One Shropshire churchgoer said: Ive seen balloons rising from the pulpit, fake moustaches and all manner of audience appeal . . . but with no real message behind it.
Instead, churchgoers want to be told how to live a Christian life, and to understand how to evangelise in a society distracted by materialism. The report correlates statistics from the past 150 years showing attendance rising in the last half of the 19th century and peaking around 1905 before going into steady decline, with an inverse trend of crime, drunkenness and illegitimacy falling to a low at the turn of the 19th century and then steadily rising.
Now who could have predicted that? Go figure. /sarcasm
It would be interesting to know if this applied to the Catholic Church as well - it doesn't appear to give any indication which "denominations" were included in the survey.
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15
My kids and I had an interesting talk about just this subject tonight. Tobie (age 6) ignored me when I asked him to stop copying his brother. Finally, I blurted out, "It's a sin to ignore your mother when she asks you to do something." "Well, God still loves me, doesn't he?" was the reply. That led to a quite interesting discussion of what God's love does and doesn't afford us in terms of salvation and repentance. We finally decided that being in Hell is like being in time-out forever, while you have to watch everyone else having a great time.
Liberal clergy believe that the resurrection is a myth with good messages.
Why are the pews empty along with the offering plates?
Why support something that's all form and no substance? Why follow something that's all fable and no fact?
The reality, however, is that Jesus actually did resurrect. People who believe that have a mission to fulfill.
The overall trend is probably the same in the Catholic Church in England as well, but I would be pleasantly surprised if Catholics had actually verbalised the need for more conservative, Scriptural teaching.
I would also be pleasantly surprised if most Catholics wanted to get rid of these trite, sick-making kiddy songs and Masses.
Somewhat against the trend we have seen a 30% increase in weekly Mass attendance over the last 18 months - it would be nice to think that the orthodox preaching had something to do with it! ;)
I think a good many do, they're just intimidated and won't say so. My parish, OTOH, has weekly catechism classes for 20 and 30 somethings, and the parishoners' request. And Mass has been CROWDED lately. No kiddie songs, either.
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