"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Sweden - Going to Hell in a Hand-basket

This might explain why Sweden is in so much trouble with its government making hair-brained decisions that the public mostly supports

Why Swedes are leaving the Swedish Church in record numbers

File photo of a Swedish priest. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
The Local

More than 90,000 people chose to quit the Swedish Church last year – almost twice as many as the year before.

The Swedish Church saw a significant drop in its membership numbers last year, with a total of 1.5 percent of its members choosing to leave the Evangelic-Lutheran organization.

The main reason why people decide leave is because they do not believe in God, according to a survey carried out by pollsters Norstat on behalf of the Swedish Church.

Forty percent said they had left for that reason. Other reasons included that being a member "did not feel meaningful" (18 percent) or that it was "too expensive" (17 percent).

As The Local reported in August, last year's mass exodus followed a series of high-profile revelations claiming officials made expensive trips abroad funded by church coffers. A spokesperson said increased media coverage of the Swedish Church as a result may have contributed to the drop in members.

"The survey confirms what we previously thought which is that the decision to withdraw is for most people a long process. They have a weak relationship (with the church), or have not reflected on their membership, and when the church is then in the public spotlight you are reminded of your membership and review it," said Pernilla Jonsson, head of analysis at the Swedish Church's department for research.

That people can go to church and not believe in God is a condemnation of the leadership of the church. In a church where God truly exists, it is difficult to attend church and not encounter Him at some level. Such a serious failure to encounter him causes one to suspect that the church is dead; that God is not there; that He has removed His candlestick (See Revelation 2:1-5).

One possible issue here might be that many Swedish churches have abandoned preaching Jesus Christ. Christianity without Jesus Christ is not Christianity! I once took a neighbour, who was raised in the Lutheran Church, to a Christmas concert. She was horrified at the frequent mention of Jesus - at a Christmas concert!!! She had been raised to believe in God - but "Who is this Jesus?"

Jesus has to be preached from the pulpit and a vital and obvious relationship with Him has to be modeled by church leadership. His character has to be revealed in those who walk with Him. Taking expensive trips on church coffers is not how you do that. 

No wonder people found the experience to be meaningless. They weren't being taught the Gospel, which is the purpose of the church to begin with. Also, tithing is voluntary and a privilege, not a requirement in any real church. 

Sweden is the least religious country in the western world, trailing only China, Hong Kong and Japan in percentage of irreligious people. While Christianity is dying in Sweden, Islam is blossoming with the great number of Muslim immigrants and their considerably higher birth-rate than native Swedes. That's all part of the Islamization of Sweden which too many Swedes see as a good thing. It isn't! It's insane!

I pray Sweden will turn to Jesus Christ, realize what He did on the Cross nearly 2000 years ago, and find that they can have a very real and active relationship with Him. Without Him, Sweden has no hope and will continue to slide down the slippery slope they have been on for some years now. May God have mercy.

Around 8,000 people chose to join the Swedish Church in 2016.

The survey, which did not ask people when they left, was carried out between November 24th and December 9th. It asked 5,384 Swedes if they were members of the Swedish Church, and the 40 percent who said they were not were then asked to state the reason why they had left.

The Swedish Church says it has 6.1 million members in a country just above 10 million people. 

Before 1996, children whose parents were members were automatically enrolled at birth. But according to Statistics Sweden, just five percent of Swedes are regular church goers. One in three couples that get married in Sweden choose a civil ceremony.