Scotland (MNN) — The United Kingdom is home to thousands of grandiose church buildings and people well-versed in the language of Christian theology.
But, sadly, spiritual history does not always equal spiritual vibrancy.
“If we look at the state church in Scotland (the Presbyterian Church) and England (the Anglican Church), often we can see sort of the dead husk of a once-vibrant church, if we look at general statistics of church attendance and various other things,” says Carl Moeller with Biblica. “Frankly, it can make anybody who cares about the areas of Scotland and England quite depressed, because there’s very few people who acknowledge church attendance on a high scale.”
But while it may seem that these nations have abandoned their spiritual fervor of the past, things are starting to shift. According to Moeller, throughout the past few years, “There is a movement of God within these churches and in places that we would, maybe a decade or two ago, have thought were beyond revival, where we’re seeing God’s spirit move and people are actually turning to faith.”
Two organizations helping spur this new revival are Biblica and the Scottish Bible Society. Last summer, they distributed “Penny Gospels”–Scripture booklets costing one cent each—around Scotland to help integrate the Bible into families’ daily lives. And the booklets proved effective.
“I think the final statistics were that we got into about 25% of all the homes in Scotland with a copy of God’s Word,” Moeller says. “And the response of people to that touch of Scripture was just remarkable.
“In a place that has a Christian heritage like Scotland does–so based on the Reformation commitment to the Scriptures and so much of their cultures resonating with Scriptural principles and law and identity, to find people discovering again the truth of the Gospel through reading the Word brought tears to my eyes.”
Along with the Penny Gospels, Biblica also introduced its Community Bible Experience as a way to help Christians more actively and personally engage with God’s Word. They developed a special format of the Bible, without compromising on Scriptural integrity, that would resonate well with the people of Scotland.
“We had well over 100 churches throughout the country participate in Community Bible Experience,” Moeller says. “Community Bible Experience is an opportunity for people to read together, in the church and in homes, large portions of Scriptures. We use a version of the Bible that we’ve reformatted to take out the chapter and verse markings that sometimes keep us from reading the Bible really as Paul and other authors of the New Testament wrote it. They wrote it as a letter.
“When people did this, they were absolutely ecstatic because people began to see the Bible not as a rule book and as a lecture book, but as a love letter, as a beautiful story of how God’s plan of redemption was for them.”
While it appears Scotland is discovering a new-found passion for the Gospel, prayer is essential. Moeller asks that you pray for a total spiritual revival in not just Scotland, but the UK as a whole.
“The thing that is most important for a place like Scotland or England–or really any part of Europe, for that matter–is to pray for the revival of the church,” Moeller says. “So much of Europe’s heritage has been forgotten when it comes to their faith.”
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