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Media – Battle for Christianity

May 2016

Christianity is in decline and, with less than 3 million people in church attendance in 2016, faces constant challenges, a BBC documentary has claimed.

The Battle for Christianity documentary, shown in March, was presented by Professor Robert Beckford, who is from a Christian background. It looked at how immigration, radical social action, conservative morality and Charismatic worship are transforming the face of Christianity in this country.

In the hour-long show, Prof. Beckford asked what all these changes might mean for the future in an increasingly secular society. According to Andrew Copson, spokesman for the British Humanist Association, ‘Whether it is beliefs, whether it is attendance, a place of worship, an identity, the church is in decline’.

However, after 2005, the influx of immigrants from across Europe has helped to bolster Protestant and Catholic church attendance, the documentary showed. The Polish community particularly has had an influx of young people wanting to worship at their local Catholic churches.

One of the people interviewed was Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, who spoke about its work, including supporting Northern Ireland’s Ashers Baking Company.

He said, ‘The way forward is not for the church to simply imitate the society around us. The way forward is for the church to be the church: to follow Christ, to follow the teachings of the Bible’.

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