Vol: 78 Issue: 20 Thursday, March 20, 2008
According to a survey carried out by the British theological think-tank, “Theos” one person in three between the ages of 18 and 24 did NOT know where Jesus Christ was born.
One in ten respondents to the survey thought that Jesus was born in Nazareth.
One in four didn’t know that an angel told Mary she would give birth to the Son of God. (Those respondents thought she had been informed by the shepherds)
In all, “Theos” asked a total of four questions of a representative group of 1015 people across Britain in a telephone survey.
Here are the questions, as asked of respondents in the survey:
1) According to the story in the Christian Bible, where was Jesus born? (One in four didn’t know)
2) Who told Mary she would give birth to a Son? (One in three didn’t know)
3) Who was Jesus cousin? (Half did not know)
4) Where did Joseph, Mary and Jesus go to escape from King Herod when Jesus was a young child? (77% didn’t know)
For the record . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mary was informed by an angel, John the Baptist was first cousin to Jesus and the family fled into Egypt to escape Herod.
Only SEVEN PERCENT of Britons between the ages of 18-24 aced the questionnaire. The most knowledgeable demographic was the group aged between 55-64.
And among the most knowledgeable Britons, a mere EIGHTEEN PERCENT — less than one in five — answered all four questions correctly.
Or, put another way, EIGHTY-TWO percent of British adults between the ages of 55 and 64 COULDN’T answer all four questions correctly.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Paul Wooley, director of Theos, was unsurprised.
“No-one seriously thinks that being a Christian or a member of the established Church is the same thing as being British today. But, at the same time, if we are serious about social cohesion we can’t afford to ignore the stories that have bound us together as a culture for a thousand years.”
It is difficult to reconcile the survey results with the nation that gave the English-speaking world the King James Bible.
America was founded by British Christians in pursuit of religious freedom.
Until the dawn of the 20th century, Britain led the world in bringing Christ to the nations.
Indeed, until early days of the 20th century, the word ‘missionary’ without the word ‘British’ preceding it was only half a word.
The London Missionary Society was an extensive Anglican and Nonconformist missionary society formed in England in 1795 with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa.
The Anglican Missionary Society spread throughout the 18th and 19th century, establishing the world-wide Anglican communion, once second only to the Catholic Church in its universality.
English Christian culture reached its peak during the Victorian Era, during which time, blasphemy against God, Christ, Christianity or the Bible was a punishable crime.
(It is worth noting that, at the same time, the British Empire reached its zenith, giving rise to the saying, “the sun never sets on the British flag.”)
A century later, the sitting Archbishop of Canterbury made headlines when he questioned the Divinity of Christ and the veracity of the Resurrection story.
(And today, the sun sets on the British flag every day at the same time it sets over London. Make of that what you will, but facts are facts.)
Many Bible scholars over the centuries have noted a correlation between the descriptions contained in the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches and seven identifiable periods (or epochs) within the Church.
1) Ephesus corresponded to the Apostolic Church of the 1st century (33-100).
2) The Church at Smyrna was the Persecuted Church under the Caesars (100-312)
3) The Church at Pergamos corresponds with the early Roman Church founded by Constantine (312-590)
4) The Church at Thyatira (The “Dark Ages”) corresponded with the period when the Vatican kept the Bible under lock and key and persecuted non-Catholic Christians as ‘heretics’ (590-1517)
5) The Church at Sardis corresponds to the Reformation Era (1517-1750)
6) The Church at Philadelphia (the ‘missionary Church) corresponds to the Great Revival period during which the Gospel was introduced around the world (1750-1925)
7) The Church of Laodicea (the apostate Church) corresponds to the rise of the Christian ‘ecumenical movement’ the first ‘Ecumenical Council’ the Federal Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, etc. (1925-the Rapture)
The spirit of the Church at Philadelphia is embodied by the historical phrase, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” reportedly utter by Charles Stanley, when, at long last, he ended his search for missing British missionary David Livingstone.
(It is indicative of the British Christian missionary zeal of the 19th century that Dr. Livingstone had no desire to be ‘rescued’, and subsequently died in Africa.)
A hundred or so years later, one in four of his countrymen can’t name the birthplace of Christ.
Of the final epoch of the Church Age, Jesus says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
But take heart, Christian! Although Christ had zero words of commendation for the overall Church of the Last Days, He did not abandon us.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
There can be little doubt that we are deep into the Laodicean era. How deep is a matter of conjecture, but the Times of the Signs suggest we are in its waning hours.
“For when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)