Jerry Johnston Interviews Nick Spencer on Institutional Religion in Britain


On a recent trip to London, England, I had the privilege of speaking with Nick Spencer. Spencer is the Director of Research at the London-based think tank, Theos. As part of Theos, Spencer has been monitoring the religious pulse of Britain for almost 9 years.  According to Nick Spencer, the British public’s perception of institutional religion vs. a committed Christian, differs greatly.  To illustrate this difference in opinion, Spencer used the British health service as an example. He explained his illustration,

“The NHS is the National Health Service about which we Britain’s are positively religious about. Surveys asking people about what they think about the National Health Service tend to be a bit negative.  It’s dirty, very long waiting times, creaking at the seams, you don’t get the service you need, people are underpaid, there are lots of mistakes made.  As an institution, it doesn’t do very well.  Ask the same people then, what their experience at the local GP – general practitioner, the local doctor – or the most recent hospital appointment or visit is, and almost always it’s much, much more positive.”

According to Nick Spencer, institutionalized vs. personal faith is the key difference influencing public perception of religion. Cultivation of personal faith is paramount to the health of the Christian. To globally facilitate Christians in their Christian journey, Cristie Jo and I are developing pivotal resources and digital products that will build the faith of all age groups.

Nick Spencer is the Director of Research at the London-based think tank, Theos.

Researchers, Drs. Jerry and Cristie Jo Johnston, are Executive Producing a quick-paced film via trans continental, staccato interviews documenting the shocking rise of the non-religious.