“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” -Acts 1:8For the first time in over a millennium, less than half of the population (46%) of England and Wales now consider themselves Christians, while 37% list “no religion” as their preference. Muslims have grown to 6.5% of the population, up from 4.9% only a few years ago. The Church of England closed 423 churches between 2010 and 2019. It has not always been this way. England and Wales have a rich history of great preachers and powerful revivals. Our country is not far behind. The Pew Research Center reveals that the so called Christian majority in the U.S. will end within a few decades. I might add that the numbers are actually far worse. Both of these surveys have a very broad category of “Christian”, even including Mormons as Christians. I have said for at least eight years that the true number of believers in the U.S. is probably around 8%. David Wells thinks the percentage is much lower, like 1% or 2%. Is there any hope for us?
George Friedrich Handel was born in 1685 in Germany and was a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach (they were born only five weeks apart). Apparently they never met. Both were German Lutherans. By the time Handel was eight years old he was proficient on the organ. He became a violinist and composer with the Hamburg Opera Theatre and then at the age of twenty-one worked in Italy for four years, composing his Christian oratorio The Resurrection. From there Handel went to London where he lived for the rest of his life. He struggled professionally and more than once faced bankruptcy and debtors prison. In the midst of his struggles Handel kept his faith and his sense of humor. When one of his oratorios was to begin his friends sought to encourage him due to the nearly empty auditorium. To which he said, “Never mind. The music will sound the better due to the acoustics of the nearly empty hall.” When a friend commented on the dreary nature of some music he had recently heard, Handel replied, “You are right sir. It is pretty poor stuff. I thought so myself when I wrote it.” Handel was a devoted, earnest Christian but he had his weaknesses. At times his anger would get the best of him (usually with singers) when rehearsing his music and he was known to swear in German, French, Italian, and English but then would quickly repent and apologize.