Christ Community Church is affiliated with Acts 29, a network of churches that plants churches. Acts 29 is alive and well in Western Europe, and we are thrilled as a church to be involved with their ministry. Read their update on Christianity’s relevancy in Western Europe. Find out more about them at acts29we.org.
Richard Dawkins is probably the most well-known atheist in the UK. His organization, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has recently published a national survey regarding the religious and social beliefs of British Christians. The survey reveals that, of the 54 % of British people who identify themselves as Christians, 49% do not think of Jesus as the Son of God, 4% doubt Jesus existed, and 6% don’t think that God exists.
Responding to the survey, Dawkins asserted that “despite the best efforts of church leaders and politicians to convince us that religion is still an important part of our national life, these results demonstrate that it is largely irrelevant, even to those who still label themselves Christian.”
We really can’t argue with that, can we? In a society in which Christianity is increasingly relegated to the fringes, many of those who align themselves with Jesus by name really have no idea who he is and what it actually means to follow him. Premier Christian Media recently published their “Report on the Mariginalization of Christianity in British Public Life 2007-2011.” One of the many findings of this 5-year study is that Christians in the UK believe secularism to be the greatest challenge to Christianity - greater than the threat of Islam. According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of UK citizens who identify themselves as atheists has risen to 1 in 4. Bible-believing Christians in such a culture can easily become nervous. Our numbers are fading. And fast! Christianity is, at best, a merely cultural religion. What are we to do?
Paul’s letters to the early Christians makes it clear: we are to devote ourselves to doing what is good. We are to love God, each other and the people around us, so that they would see the gospel of grace at work in us and glorify our Savior. What kind of witness is it to the world when Christians are most passionate about our own status in society? It is far too easy for us to speak up for ourselves and remain deafeningly silent about the millions of aborted babies or victims of the sex trade. We have the promises of Jesus and the hope of eternity; we need not fear the trampling of our own liberties. Our call is to serve the rights of others. We are to live gentle, considerate lives that commend the gospel, “so that close who oppose us may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:8). Yes, Christians are marginalized. But then, wasn’t Christ?