Decline in European Christianity

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Liberty University

The Decline of European Christianity

A Paper
Submitted to Professor J. Earls
By La Dawn Brooks
Church History 302 February 10, 2012

In this paper I will attempt to explain the decline in European Christianity and what attributed to itt. When did it actually start? What caused people to move away from Christianity? More importantly will we ever see an increase in these numbers again?

Europe has been known for its strong roots in Christianity. It was known for its missionaries who spread the word through out the world. They came to share the Good News to those who otherwise may not have heard it through evangelism. The churches in Europe have been steadily deteriorating through the centuries. Every country in Europe has not experienced such a massive decline, some are thriving while others are about to be non-existence. The decline in Christianity of course did not come about overnight it happened progressively down through the centuries. It was believed to have initially about during the time of Constantine. He did not allow it to be a separation between church and state and as ruler of the empire everyone was considered to be a Christian. The leader of any country that is given ecclesiastical rule will do more harm to the church because if they can use their agenda to influence what the majority should be and this alone left no room for growth or change. Lutzer wrote in his book “Doctrines that Divide” “with Constantine as power, Christianity was no longer a sect within empire but became synonymous with the empire. One now would be a Christian by simply being born into the empire, not necessarily by having personal faith Christ. [4] The state of the church in this time is like the church of Thyatira in (Rev.2:15-29). It was to the point that it was not about people’s growth spiritually, but about how to manipulate people to the purpose of their own secular purposes. The Enlightenment, (The Age of Reason) was a clash with church dogma it loosened the grip of

2 faith and was the next step toward the downward spiral of Christianity in the European culture. “Dogma was often substituted for faith, and orthodoxy for love.”[2] John Locke was one of the primary leaders during the enlightenment and his belief was that if it could not be proven then it could not be trusted and this is the way he felt about God. This thinking caused others during this time to believe that religion itself was simply superstitious. In the eighteenth century deism also came into play this is where there is a belief in a supreme being that is perpetuated and validated by innate ability of human reasoning. It was during this time that deism was prominent. Deism led to a theological liberalism which began to eat at the heart of Christianity. In his article Europeans Christianity” Failure to Thrive,” Collin Hansen writes “Rome’s Fall, Constantinople’s forsaking, and Christendom’s eventual collapse during the Reformation era wars of religion revealed the perils of uniting the church so closely with temporal earthly regimes. Bluntly put the church that lives by state power dies by state power---- its fortunes are to closely tied, to political vicissitudes.”[5] After all of this it was generally accepted that the people of Europe will follow the religion of their kings. I wanted to give this brief history because of the I wanted to show that the history shows that there have been numerous accounts of activity in that time that history is repeating in this time. It appears there are several reasons why Christianity started to decline and continues to do so. There is church and state involvement, Reformation, religious wars that came...
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