A flurry of articles about the Church of Norway were published in 2016. They covered a variety of topics but two, in particular, gave statistics that are striking. In March an article entitled “Most Norway Church members ‘not Christian'” appeared.
The same month an article entitled “Majority of Norwegians ‘do not believe in God’ for first time in country’s history” was published.
“Most non-religious Norwegians are members of the Church of Norway” came in August of 2018.
Each of the three articles is brief but these are the findings in short:
Statistic #1: Less than half of the 3.8 million baptized members of the Church of Norway (The population of the entire country is almost 5.4 million) consider themselves Christians, according to a new poll for Aftenposten newspaper.
Statistic #2: For the first time ever, there are more in Norway who say they don’t believe in God than those who say they do. On top of that, there is a large group that is in doubt.
Statistic #3: Many of those who do not have a religious belief in Norway are still members of the Church of Norway and use the church for ceremonial events.
These statistics warrant several questions:
Question #1: In a country where 70% of the population is baptized into what is supposed to be a Christian church, how can there be such corruption? The corruption I’m referring to has been dealt with in a number of articles on this blog. If you are not aware, the Norwegian Child Welfare Services is guilty of stealing children from their parents. The government sponsored NCWS is supposed to help families. In many cases, they ruin families.
There is a theological answer, from a Christian perspective, to this question. The corruption is possible because baptism in itself does not make someone a Christian. If you disagree, find one Bible verse that announces that baptism alone is responsible for salvation. If you can find one, please share it here in the comment section.
Question #2: Why are those who are members of the “Church” in Norway silent about the corruption? We know that more than half of the “Church” members don’t consider themselves Christians but what about the million or so who say they are? What about the leaders in the church? Why are they silent?
There is a theological answer to this question as well. If it is correct or not is another question. The Church leaders in Norway, just like many who had religious positions of note in the days of Jesus, are too comfortable with the status quo and with their positions of power to speak out against duplicity. They fear they have too much to lose. There is at least one pastor in all of Norway who has consistently spoken out against this evil:
Pastor Jan-Aage Torp. It is not surprising that he is not a pastor in the Church of Norway. Pastor Torp should be admired for his lone stand on such an important issue. At the same time his Oslo Church is part of an international movement that is called “The New Apostolic Reformation.” It is an error-filled movement but that is another subject.
Question #3: How can God bless a nation that has turned it’s back upon Him? Since, there are more in Norway who say they don’t believe in God than those who say they do, it appears to be a question that could be asked of it. It has been a question that has been asked about America many times on this blog.
Yes, there is a Biblical answer for this as well. Since God gave the Israelis chance after chance and finally allowed them to be taken into bondage, it appears the answer is clear. The only reason for the reappearance of Israel as a nation in the last century was because of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This is what happens when nations or individuals continually turn their backs on God:
18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
– Romans 1
I pray for Norway and I pray for America. The statistics are extremely disturbing.
Just prayed for Norway…sad
Thank you for your prayers, Pastor Jim. Sad is a fitting word for it all.
True. Glad to see you writing again
Thank you for those kind words, Pastor Jim!
It is sad, indeed, Pastor Barsan. By the way, I just checked your blog for the first time in awhile. It is looking good my friend!
Dear Chris and readers,
I am actually a member of the Norwegian Lutheran church, the major church in Norway, which you are writing about, Chris.
I am absolutely sure that you would find many of my opinions and actions wanting, and probably my faith too – so much failure in my life that I do not even want to talk about it ever.
I think what the church has come to mean to me is not so much belief as just hope – hope against rational likelihood, the hope given us by Christ.
I had a dialogue with someone who has had the Norwegian child ‘protection’ people attacking his family, but they escaped – only just. One of his major sorrows is that so many church people here (of all sorts of denominations) work for the not only state-sponsored but state-run CWS, or work in with them, and will not listen to anything about what actually happens. What about all those ministers, who are supposed to guide and help, and stand upright on important ethical issues? What are they doing to our churches? He was unhappy and wondered if he could belong to any church at all.
Just for once I found what I think is a real answer:
But it is not the ministers’ church, it is Christ’s church. And He certainly knows about our shortcomings and struggles.
It is great to hear from you, Marianne. I particularly appreciate your last comments. God is well aware of the things you have mentioned and He can work in any situation.
Like you, I am very disappointed in the leaders (and lay people) who are not standing upright on important ethical issues. The church should be at the fore in the battle against evil.
Sadly, we are seeing more of this type of “leadership” in churches in America. Basic moral issues clearly defined in scripture are being ignored and compromised. I know people here who are just like the man you talked with. They seem unable to find a church where they belong. Even though I do think that Norway has a higher percentage of those who consider themselves atheist, our percentage appears to be increasing.
Your comment about failure makes me think of The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector found in Luke 18:9-14. You would be like the tax collector, Marianne, and that’s a very good thing.
As always, I appreciate your comments, Marianne and I particularly appreciate your willingness to stand against those who intend to break up families for no good reason whatsoever.
May God bless your efforts and may God bless you.