King Olav Haraldsson was buried after he was killed in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030. Tradition has it that the high Altar of the Cathedral now stands on the exact spot of this burial site. The Cathedral is currently being used by the Church of Norway.
Photo by Jan Hammershaug
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'”
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.
Hammerfest Church, a parish church of the Church of Norway
Photo by Bruno Jargot