Its obituary has been written (or so we are supposed to believe).
The average age of its members is now 61 and by 2020 a “crisis” of “natural wastage” will lead to their numbers falling “through the floor”, the Church’s national assembly was told. The Church was compared to a company “impeccably” managing itself into failure, during exchanges at the General Synod in York. The warnings follow an internal report calling for an urgent national recruitment drive to attract more members. In the past 40 years, the number of adult churchgoers has halved, while the number of children attending regular worship has declined by four fifths.
Usually forgotten in all these dire warnings, it must be remembered, however, is that the Church doesn’t belong to its members – its members belong to their Head, Christ. And because it doesn’t belong to its members, its fate is not in their hands (no matter how old and gnarled they may be). Instead, its history belongs to Christ. If he wishes that fragment of his body to die off (as individual churches have and will) it is of no concern to those who wish to assert lordship over a body not their own.
Christianity will remain (true Christianity, that is) even if it is even more of a minority in the future than it is now. No need for alarm. The real alarm should be sounded over our dying society instead. It, being absolutely foreign to the Body of Christ, is diseased and destined for death. It’s for culture as we know it that the bell has tolled and is now tolling too- if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.