Former Archbishop of Canterbury warns Christianity at risk of dying out in a generation

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has a warning for Christian churches: Attract young people to the faith or risk losing it forever.

According to The Telegraph, Carey said Christianity is just a “generation away from extinction” in Britain unless churches have a breakthrough in attracting young people.

Clergy are gripped by a “feeling of defeat” and congregations are worn down by “heaviness," he said.

Carey said the public greets both with “rolled eyes and a yawn of boredom," according to The Telegraph.

More…
foxnews.com/world/2013/11/24/former-archbishop-canterbury-warns-christianity-as-risk-dying-out-in-generation/

In my opinion, Western churches need to abandon the notion of having pre-WW2 membership and participation. God can accomplish the impossible, but for our purposes, outrageous hope is synonymous with disappointment. Just preach the gospel, be charitable but uncompromising, and you will be guaranteed to maintain solid ranks. You won’t have society pinned under your thumb, but you will be strong enough to stand. Young people are being pushed away because those churches are possessed by a spirit of timidity. They think that’s going to draw people in, and they are wrong. When you adapt yourself to the times in order to make yourself relevant, you are actually making yourself irrelevant.

I agree.

It reminds me of an interview BXVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger gave to Raymond Arroyo.

He said it was clear that the Church was becoming smaller in numbers and what he saw for the future was a smaller Church, but stronger in faith. Smaller, but stronger communities of faith.

This is very well said. The Anglican Church has completely embraced this kind of idea, and it is the exact reason they are disappearing.

He’s right about Christianity in Great Britain. The native population is reverting to paganism, while the immigrant Muslims are growing and devout.

The Church of England \ The Episcopal Church IMHO has made so many doctrinal changes in such a short period of time they have lost many families that have been with them for generations.

There was a schism of sorts when they started the ordination of woman, along with many other fundamental changes. I think in keeping up with “the times” they may have lost focus on some of the basic teachings of Christ. I could be very wrong about that though. They seem to be drifting towards the Unitarians. That is just my humble opinion.

For the record, it is NOT my intention to marginalize the Episcopal or Unitarian Churches. My comments are framed from my own Catholic point of view.

Folks have almost completely lost interest in the Church of England.

Frankly I don’t blame them. When the church is essentially teaching what the world is teaching, why bother even showing up?

That’s so true. I am torn about returning to the Catholic Church, and think about attending the Episcopal. But then I think about gay marriage, pro-abortion, etc, and so forth, and not sure if could could stomach that. :shrug:

If those are the two churches you are considering, I highly suggest going back to the Catholic Church. I may disagree, vehemently on some things, with the Catholic Church, but I am on the same page with them in regards to social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

I was considering church shopping. I moved down the valley last spring, and thought I’d check out all the churches, and see where I feel at home.:shrug:

The C of E is quite different from the Episcopal Church. It has some very liberal sections, but it covers a much broader spectrum and is, taken as a whole, much more orthodox.

I would find it much easier to remain Anglican if I lived in England (or perhaps I should say even harder to become Catholic, though of course the basic issues would still be the same). American Anglicanism has fragmented into two warring factions (not even counting the older “Continuing Churches” who are numerically smaller) with opposite vices. (Not claiming equivalence–certainly ACNA is much more orthodox on the whole.)

Edwin

Since at least the 1930’s, the Anglican church has done everything possible to please the world, embrace artificial contraception, embrace Stalin, embrace Hitler, embrace divorce, abortion, homosexuality, women priests, women bishops, etc.,etc., etc… The entire Anglican plan of the last eighty years has been a disaster.

And yet there are some Catholics who want the Catholic Church to follow the exact same path!

Eph 4:5 one lord, one faith, one baptism

Unless the former archbishop severely clarifies what means by making Christianity attractive to young people I would treat any such ideas with suspiscion. I think what would attract more young people is a solid message of the timeless truth for the practice and morals of Christianity and if our post modern era rejects that then so be it.

Actually this is a complete myth. Though the number of attendees has declined in almost every Christian Church, the biggest reduction in percentage terms has been among Catholics. We always used to have by far the greatest attendance figures and have declined so much that are neck and neck with Anglicans. Also almost all the decline took place in the 70s and 80s - since the 90s the decline has halted and figures have even gone up patchily in some years.

I agree with this observation too. Though the relatve decline is sad, there are more intense pillars of faith.

I didn’t take Carey’s words to mean embracing relativism and liberal progressivism. Carey is an evangelical, he has testified to having a conversion experience, and while he supported the ordination of women, he was a strong opponent of the homosexual agenda within the Anglican Church. He writes in the same article:

“So many people do not see the average church as a place where great things happen," he said. “To sit in a cold church looking at the back of other peoples’ heads is surely not the best place to meet exciting people and to hear prophetic words.”

I think what Carey is getting at is that many churches are spiritually weary, going through the motions, and managing decline instead of actively deciding that we need to insure that a generation rises up that has not forgotten the ways of the Lord. Underlying this passage is a silent critique about the constituencies that most churches pander to: old people.

That’s why he mentions young people:

“So many churches have no ministry to young people and that means they have no interest in the future," he said. “We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them.”

My suggestion is - please be careful with the bolded part of your statement. For those Catholics who live in an area of multiple CCs, this convince is understandable. But to think this concept can be realized within a non-visible Christian church “protestant view” will always fail IMO. Whatever you feel at home today with will not necessarily be there tomorrow. It has been said many times here on CAF - “find the one true church Jesus established and conform your views to it” (even if this takes much prayer and commitment to understanding).

Peace!!!

This is very well said. The Anglican Church has completely embraced this kind of idea, and it is the exact reason they are disappearing.

Alive and well right here lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Not really doctrinal changes. Not everyone is forced to believe. You can decide for yourself on these matters.

There was a schism of sorts when they started the ordination of woman, along with many other fundamental changes. I think in keeping up with “the times” they may have lost focus on some of the basic teachings of Christ. I could be very wrong about that though. They seem to be drifting towards the Unitarians. That is just my humble opinion.

Thanks for your thoughts. I personally am agaisnt women in the priesthood but that is my personal opinion. Not sure if certian stances are “keepin up with the times” but rather treating all as equal children of God. We tend to leave the judgment at the door I guess and allow God to be judge and jury. I would have to disagree with moving towards Unitarianism. :frowning:

For the record, it is NOT my intention to marginalize the Episcopal or Unitarian Churches. My comments are framed from my own Catholic point of view.

You are allowed to form your own opinion and I welcome such. :thumbsup:

As far as “gay marriage” we call it same sex partnership or civil unions. For the majority, we reserve the term “marriage” for the act between a man and a woman.

Pro-abortion? Wow that is that first I have heard about TEC being pro-abortion. I should let my parish know this before we go and pray in fornt of the abortion clinic. :shrug:

What are the etc? Often there are many things taken out of context with the Episcopal Church much like many protestant do with Catholicism. :frowning:

Sounds like a Screwtape Letter.

Humans love a bad guy scapegoat. If you fail to totally deaden your subject’s conscience, at least direct that conscience towards outrage at vices he is not personally inclined towards. Villainize THOSE people as the source of evil and suffering in our times (it helps if the fool doesn’t believe in demons). Assure that he’s so focused on opposing THAT evil in society and even in church, that he takes no notice whatever of the sorts of sins he IS inclined towards. Then you have him! :eek:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.