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A report on the future of Christianity, drawing on a decade of research by Theos. (2016)
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Theos was launched in November 2006 with a report entitled ‘Doing God’: A future for faith in the public square.
Ten years on, Theos’ Research Director Nick Spencer looks back to that publication and forward to the future of Christianity in 21st century Britain.
“Strange things are happening to Christianity in the United Kingdom.
While critics prophesy its imminent demise – as critics have done for several hundred years – Christians across the country are doing what they too, have done for may hundreds of years: worship, pray, witness, serve.
There is nothing, of course, strange about this. What is strange – or at least worthy of greater notice than it usually receives – is that the breadth, depth and intensity of this Christian service is deepening. From personal debt advice to marriage counselling, from foodbanks to street pastors, from rehabilitation to reconciliation, the Church – and Christian charities across the country are rolling up their sleeves, struggling on behalf of human dignity, pursuing the comon good – and doing it all in the name of Jesus Christ.
In 2006, our predecessors as Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster, Rowan Williams and Cormac Murphy O’Connor, welcomed the launch of the think tank Theos. We have watched closely and admired its rigorous and thoughtful work over the last ten years, and are delighted to commend this ten year anniversary report.
In it, Nick Spencer charts a view of the future for Christianity in the UK, drawing on the wealth of data and evidence that Theos has accumulated in its years of research.
That view is one in which service is central, but it is service–as–witness, service that is firmly rooted in, shaped by and unashamed of its faith in Jesus Christ.
The report’s idea of “Christian social liturgy” expresses how Christians can combine their fidelity to the two greatest commandments – loving God and loving neighbour – in a way that is simultaneously distinctive and inclusive.”
Image from wikimedia.org available in the public domain.
Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.
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Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.