Archive for October 2018

Nominal Christianity

October 25, 2018

Following the publication of the latest issue of Vista, which focused on Nominal Christianity,  Dr Peter Brierley shared with us a paper on the topic.

The paper gives an overview of statistics and then explores a wide number of issues relating to nominalism, including what is religiousness, and spirituality; and what invisible or no religion means today.

Read the full paper here

Dr Peter Brierley is a statistician who has been the Lausanne Catalyst for Church Research from 1984, although now stepping down in favour of Dr Larry Kraft.  He was also Director first of MARC Europe (1983-1993) and then of Christian Research (1993-2007) and did multiple surveys of church attendance in that time (and since!).   Christian Research organised the first Lausanne Consultation on Nominalism in 1997, and this paper was written for the second held in Rome in March 2018.  More details of his current statistical work may be found on


Nominal Christianity in Contemporary Europe

October 1, 2018

Nominal Christianity in EuropeOf course I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was raised as a “nominal Christian”.
My mother was a disillusioned and non-practising Irish Catholic; my father was “C of E” but rarely showed his face at the local parish church. I was christened and went to the local Church of England Aided Primary School but there was no Christian practice at home: no prayers, no Bible-reading (in fact I am not even sure there was a Bible in the house) and no conversation about spiritual things.

When I finally met a believing Christian in my early teens I can distinctly remember thinking: “These guys talk about Jesus as if he was still alive, not like the dead Jesus they have taught us about in school”. It was the start of my journey into faith in Christ and the turning point in my life.

This issue of Vista tackles the complex issue of Nominal Christianity. The lead article by Evert van de Poll provides a description of the phenomenon and traces its essential parameters. We then reproduce the Lausanne Statement on Nominal Christianity which resulted from a consultation in Rome 2018.

Darrell Jackson reviews the Pew Research Center’s report “Being Christian in Western Europe” and René Breuel writes on the vital importance of visual metaphors for initiation into Christian faith. Lastly, an article by Jo Appleton draws on insights from three participants in the Rome Consultation who write about Nominal Christianity from Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox perspectives.

Jim Memory

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