There was a recent article in the UK’s The Telegraph that stated church attendance (Church of England-Anglican) is at an all-time low. The article goes on to say that only 1.4% of the population of Great Britain goes to church on any given Sunday. The Archbishop of Canterbury (highest cleric in the Church of England) warns of the struggle in an anti-Christian culture.
The day before The Telegraph’s article appeared the New York Times reported that the UK has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.
What is the connection between low church attendance and the UK having the need to appoint a “Minister of Loneliness”?
The quote below by Theresa May, Prime Minister of Great Britain is revealing:
“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” Mrs. May said in a statement.
“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.” (The Telegraph)
The most obvious connection between the two stories is that a Minister of the State is replacing the Minister of the Gospel (and the fellowship of the church) as the primary means of encouraging lonely people.
It is, as the Archbishop of Canterbury noted the struggle in living in an anti-Christian culture. I’m sure the US is not far behind.
I think it may equally obvious that the majority of the people in Great Britain no longer believe the gospel or that the true gospel is even taught since much of “the church” has been given over to post-modernism where truth is a relative concept.
What I mean by this is that the church in Great Britain has few conservative evangelical Christians but the number is growing. (9Marks article)
It makes perfect sense that once the gospel is abandoned along with the solid biblical teaching associated with the gospel that people would fall away from the church and look to the state to fill the perceived need.
Depending on how you count there are over 50 “one anothers” in the Scriptures. Below is small sampling:
The above sampling illustrates how God’s people can minister to one another as a result of their faith in Christ and his finished work on the Cross.
When faithfully practiced, especially in the context of a small group ministry one outcome is a cure for loneliness. God said it was not good for man to be alone so he created woman, but he also established the church (Matthew 16:18) and provided a broader application so that we can love another by practicing the one another’s.
The Gospel is the solution to loneliness but a person has to believe it and embrace it and of course attend the worship service of the church.