Saturday, January 15, 2011

Evangelical trends in the UK

New research just published by the Evangelical Alliance makes for interesting reading.

The main points that stand out to me:

  • 90% of evangelicals in the UK believe in continuing miraculous gifts of the holy spirit.
  • Young earth creationism is not growing in popularity amongst evangelicals. Only 39% of evangelicals believe that Christianity and evolution are incompatible.
  • 94% of evangelicals agree that it is Christians duty to care for the environment.
  • 7 out of 10 evangelicals believe, to some extent, that Christians should work collaboratively with people of other faiths on community projects.
  • The younger generation of evangelicals (those under 40) read the bible less than those who are older, but they take a harder line on moral issues than the older generation.
  • Younger evangelicals are more likely to believe in a literal hell with eternal punishment than older evangelicals.

It also confirms my own anecdotal evidence, that:

  • The popularity of creationism has peaked.
  • Evangelicalism is less erudite, less expository and more experiential.
  • Charismatic pentecostalism has become the mainstream in evangelicalism in Britain rather than US style biblical fundamentalism.

The two big surprises are the apparent interest in interfaith work (enough for it not to be a statistical anomaly) and the lack of emphasis on foreign mission work, which was previously a touchstone of evangelical practice in Britain.

Summary of the research here:

Link to the full research report here (PDF file):


  1. Gordon-you seem to want to reduce creationism into a myth. How any 'intelligent' person can believe in the unproven myth of evolution I do not know. Such is the power of deception? I live at the top of the Cotswolds and often find fossillised sea shells! How did they get there? I do not care for man's theories-they always change. After the fall of Adam we all died,Jesus the last Adam is our ONLY hope. Repent of your sins (we ARE all born into sin) and believe the gospel. He is coming back soon to judge this world. Yours-Colin Ford

  2. Colin, this article is not about creationism. You might like to read this article which discusses the moral problems of promoting creationism:

  3. Hi Colin Ford! Oh dear! . . . as a Christian (Anglican) with a geology degree I'd gently urge you to go and do some (a lot of) work on how those fossils got there 'it really is quite simple.' The Bible is not a library of magic tricks but a series of narratives from a time and context and towards a purpose. Trying to use it to disprove well-founded scientific theories is not one of the purposes for which it was intended.

  4. Surely Galileo ought to warn us of the dangers of substituting inferences from the biblical narrative for scientific fact. The earth does go round the sun, evolution is a fact, and God's in his heaven, the more wonderful for those revelations. The increasing problem for Christians is how we deal with other scientific knowledge which deals with human personality. Recent understanding of the baby in the womb ought to make us even more opposed to abortion. Greater clarity on homosexuality may make us more willing to love our gay neighbour. God expects us to use our talents and not bury them. Scripture, tradition, and reason have to be held together if we are not to mistake mere obscurantism for Gospel values.