Christianity Is ‘a Generation Away From Extinction’?

According to former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey,

“Unless the church makes a substantial breakthrough in attracting young people back to the faith, Christianity in Britain is just “a generation away from extinction…”

The Archbishop continues,

“So many churches have no ministry to young people and that means they have no interest in the future. As I have repeated many times in the past we are one generation away from extinction. We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them.”  read more

The description of the clergymen in this post is quite bleak.  What we have, as it appears to me, a reader, are clergymen who are depending on their own ingenuity and the like.
Their apparatus is poorly constructed.

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15 Responses to Christianity Is ‘a Generation Away From Extinction’?

  1. Jon Hughesj says:

    Christianity has always been (potentially) a generation away from extinction. But it hasn’t happened. Christ is still building His Church. There are a lot of young people out there who are spiritual, but find the idea of going to church boring. As for the clergymen here in the UK, they are often perceived as befrocked, effeminate, white, middle-aged, out of touch, men.

    I think we need a vision of Jesus that is more radical and contemporary than all that. One that youth can really run with! (I’m not talking about the latest trend, but something really radical.)

    • TC says:

      Jon, yes, a radical vision of Jesus is what is desperately needed. I’m glad that you brought that out. I was merely hinting at it.

      Something of a global reformed resurgence is taking place right now. Isn’t it impacting your neck of the woods, esp. among the young? Or is it that these clergymen are overstating things out of some ecclesial paranoia?

      • Jon Hughesj says:

        Hi TC,

        In terms of a Reformed resurgence, in my experience, there’s a difference between the UK and the USA. Reformed churches here in the UK tend to have a problem with contemporary worship music, emphasize Sunday as the Lord’s Day (Christian Sabbath, to be observed), and are by and large suffocating, stifling places. You’ll get ‘sound doctrine’ but not something that is particularly vibrant or radical.

        One well known pastor here in London, Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeon’s church), laments the fact that his Calvinistic counterparts in the States go to restaurants for lunch after Sunday services! Wearing a grey suit and taking yourself very seriously, yes. Radical, not so much.

  2. Simon says:

    I’m sure many US analysts will say that there are too many old men wearing dresses that is the cause of the decline of Christianity in Britain. But if you transplant these mega church megalomaniacs to the UK, I think the situation would be even worse.

    The CoE is the state religion in the UK. Unfortunately it has given a lot of ground up to secularism and in some ways has colluded with secularism. I’m no political conservative, but I do think traditional Christianity is the best way to go for the UK. Not gung-ho American style conservative Protestantism. But fullness of the Christian faith, which is the hallmark of the Anglo-Catholic tradition. It is this stream of the CoE that needs to come to the fore. Intelligent, built on the Tradition of the Church, where people “don’t need to check their brains in at the door” when they go to Church.

  3. David Beirne says:

    Theoretically, the bishop is right if one is not an adherent of irresistible grace and unconditional election. If salvation/evangelism were purely in our hands, then yes, if a generation does not pass on the gospel then it would seem the Lord’s Kingdom would die out–yet, that is preposterous! Whether one is Arminian or Calvinist or whatever, what are we saying about our Lord if we believe His great purpose and plan are on such a shaky foundation? Thankfully HIs purposes are a bit too big to be left alone to our feebleness. God knows how badly we can screw things up. Maybe that’s why there’s a promise about giving us the words to say when needed.

    • TC says:

      Simon: What about the proposals of an NT Wright? What do they expect of secularism?

      David: Even Arminians are more optimistic than that! 😉

  4. TC says:


    Thanks for the perspective. So we’re talking different applications here. Reminiscent of the old Puritans, if you ask me. Does Peter Masters rub shoulders with the Calvinistic guys this side of the Atlantic, or he distances himself?

    • Jon Hughesj says:

      I think he’s pretty close to the likes of Joel Beeke. But you won’t find anything by John Piper or Michael Horton in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Bookshop. He certainly doesn’t have a very high opinion of the ‘Young, Restless and Reformed’.

      Interestingly, there’s much respect for John MacArthur. Phil Johnson spoke there a year or two ago against the New Perspective on Paul.

      From my own experience there, Peter Masters is very anti-Charismatic. Consequently, not a single book by Martyn Lloyd Jones (a Calvinist if ever there was one) is available at the bookshop. Masters is also big time against contemporary worship music.

      • TC says:

        Well, his anti-Charismatic stance and low opinion of “YRR” explain a lot, which fit the John MacArthur ammo. 😉

  5. Simon says:

    Guys I think this definition of Puritans by H.L. Mencken sums up UK and American modern-day Puritans: “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” 🙂

  6. Jon Hughesj says:

    Love that definition, Simon! What’s so ironic is that they themselves are often more than happy in their own smugness 🙂

    In fairness to Peter Masters, he is a superb Bible-teacher (within a narrow Reformed grid) and has a good sense of humour. I’ve enjoyed his Wednesday evening Bible studies on a number of occasions.

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