Jerry Johnston Interviews Justin Brierley on the Decline of Christianity in Britain11 September 2016
You may wonder about our interest in Britain’s shocking descent into secularism. Cristie Jo and I firmly believe American Christianity, that unless checked, is on the same downward slope of secularization. However, as our numerous interviews in Britain have made obvious, Britain is not entirely bereft of committed Christians in the public sphere. One such Christian is Justin Brierley. Justin is the host of Unbelievable? and Faith Explored on Premier Christian Radio in London, England. He is also the editor of the Christian apologetics magazine, Premier Christianity. I asked Justin his opinion of the 5.3 percent of people in England who attend church and the projected increase within the next 10 years. Justin replied,
“I think what you’re seeing in the UK is the fact that nominal Christianity is essentially coming to an end. I think every generation there’s – I feel like a cycle that happens and here in the UK we had what was effectively a revival in the Victorian age when many new churches were built when church going became the norm for the vast majority of the country; when you had some of those revivalist preachers, Whitfield, Wesley and others who were all part of a large revival of Christianity in the United Kingdom. And I think what tends to happen is that that generation which gets it and is on fire for God eventually if that doesn’t get past on to the next generation it turns into a kind of calcified nominal kind of faith which is more about appearances than about a living witness to Jesus. And so I think what you saw then through the beginning of the 20th century was a steady decline in the numbers of those who saw that there was any point to going to church because they didn’t have or perhaps their parents or grand parents had.”
While running the race of faith, have we failed to pass the baton to the next generation? The numbers do suggest that the younger generation’s faith has “calcified”, as Justin aptly worded it. Our upcoming documentary will highlight key Christian thinkers as they explain many of the proofs for essential Christian doctrines.