Nominal Christians: Some Stats from the U.K. from Broad Application

How do we reach people who are nominally Christian?

As a result of the Lausanne Consultation that took place in Pataya, Thailand, in June 1980, where many gathered to consider issues connected with global evangelization, several booklets emerged with titles such as Nominal Christians among Roman Catholics, … among the Orthodox,… among Protestants, as well as others looking at Traditional Religionists in various countries and continents. The first International Lausanne Consultation on Nominalism took place in England in December 1998, and the Second Consultation was held in March 2018, in Rome.

But what is nominality?

The concepts of “nominal Christian” and “notional Christian” have been around for a long time, but have largely dropped from extensive use in the last few years. Nominal Christians were originally defined as those people who “were church members and believed in God but who never attended church(except perhaps at Christmas or Easter),”while notional Christians were those who “believed in God but who never attended church and do not necessarily make any effort to follow the Christian ethic (perhaps because they confuse ‘Christianity’ with ‘Britishness’).”

Numbers for both were estimated along the following lines for the U.K.:

The figures in Columns A and F total 100%, representing the entire population. Column A is the total of Columns B, C, D and E; Column F is the total of Columns G and H. Regular churchgoers are the total of Columns B and C (from Church Censuses, the split relying on sample surveys). Church members are the total of Columns C and D (the total coming from published figures summarizing the many individual denominations). None of these definitions are watertight. Figures for …

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