Skip to comments.Irelandís Growing Evangelical Churches Shift Congregation from Catholic Majority
Posted on 06/25/2005 1:14:46 AM PDT by Destro
Irelands Growing Evangelical Churches Shift Congregation from Catholic Majority
Posted: Friday, June 24 , 2005, 17:28 (UK)
A report released by the Evangelical Alliance Ireland (EAI) recently showed that increasing numbers of Irish people are converting to evangelical Christianity. With an estimated weekly total congregation in evangelical churches rising by 13,000 members each week in the Dublin area alone, the Catholic majority in Ireland is shifting and forming a new religious face.
Greater Europe Mission (GEM), a devoted mission agency which supports church planting throughout Ireland, told the Mission News Network (MNN) about the trend.
Twenty-five years ago there were only 40 evangelical churches in the Dublin region, with an average of 20 to 30 members. Now 130 churches have been identified with an average membership of 100.
Phil Kingsley of GEM has worked in Ireland for 23 years, and he said, "There's just a radical explosion in comparison in the number of new churches and the number of new church groups."
He added that most of these members are coming from the Catholic Church: "There have been a lot of disappointments in the Catholic Church over the last few years. Things have come out in the media that have shaken basic assumptions that people have had and people are not ready to give up on God and ready to give up on spirituality, but they're coming back and saying, 'Is there another option?'"
In Ireland, 4.2 million among the 5.6 million-strong total population are Catholics. Father Kevin Doran, Director of vocations of the Roman Catholic Church in Dublin said to Reuters in an interview last month, the Church was shaken to its foundations by a string of scandals involving the sexual abuse of children by priests.
The Catholic Church also faces a shortage of local priests. Therefore, a lot of priests from Eastern Europe have come to Ireland to minister and revive the country.
In fact, evangelicals still number less than one-percent of the population of Ireland, according to Kingsley. However, he has expressed a great hope and excitement of the quality of its make up.
"One of the exciting things for us, from our standpoint, is to see local Irish Christians - they themselves are stepping up and saying, 'God is calling us to be the (in) in the forefront of spreading the message of Jesus, the message of hope and life across this nation.'"
GEM desires to see a self-supporting Evangelical Church throughout Ireland. Kingsley said to MNN, "Really the whole focus of our mission is to work toward seeing an authentic example of the body of Christ - a witnessing, evangelical fellowship within geographical and we say 'cultural' reach of every man, woman and child in Ireland."
Other sources quoted comments from the Evangelical Alliance Ireland, "While the Evangelical Church does indeed have certain doctrinal variations to the Catholic Church, they were very close on moral issues, and it believes that there are many different areas on which the two could work together."
To me Protestants and Catholics are like Captain Kirk after the transporter beam split them up into different personalities. The Orthodox Church preserves the traditions and attitudes found splintered into Western sects (more or less of course).
There was a heresy in the early history of the church and the ecumenical councils found it a heresy to consider a priest who sinned as making the sacrements invalid.
I'll take the popes you mentioned, since they did not require me to accept any new or to deny any old articles of faith.
Poor Luther, tormented and constipated, stumbled out of the Church he wanted to change. How much was pride, how much bad theology? What a sad story. Try to learn from it, not imitate it.