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|Jesus is Alive and Well in Stockholm
|Thursday, August 18, 2022|
You’ve probably heard that Europe is a gospel wasteland. According to a Gallup poll, 18% of Swedes consider themselves atheists and 55% non-religious.
The Pew Research Center finds that almost half of Swedes say religion is "not at all important." Indeed, Sweden emerges as one of the least religious countries in the world, alongside France, Japan, Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands. Only about two in ten Swedes say that religion is 'somewhat important' or 'very important' compared with seven in ten Americans.
Having just visited Sweden, I’m hardly an expert. But that research does seem to fit the vibe you feel walking the streets of Stockholm. The churches that you see are more historical sights than spiritual lights. More relic than religion.
On an afternoon walk, I stopped by the St. Clara Krika (church), built in 1590. It’s just off the main thoroughfare known as Vasagatan street. A golden pulpit rises above the floor, while enormous stained-glass windows flank the front of the edifice. Then there’s the massive pipe organ— as large as some rural towns I’ve been in.
As you peer up at the vaulted ceiling, your gaze wanders from painted mural to painted mural—all scenes from the Bible looking down on you. How were these created?
What painter would have had the nerve to mount the monstrous scaffolding that would put your brush in contact with the ceiling?
An oak table at the entrance caught my eye with its gospel tract, The Way to God—stacked neatly in piles representing nine different languages. Emboldened, I asked a staff member, “What does this church believe about the Bible?” She replied, “Oh, it is the Word of God!”
Cutting to the chase, I asked, "And what does your church teach about how to go to heaven?"
“You come to God through Christ. You must be forgiven of your sins.”
“But can’t I get to heaven by good works—just being good?” I prodded.
“No! You must have Christ!”
She was adamant. She was also right.
Though the national numbers might not look great, the witness of Jesus Christ is alive and well in Stockholm. Look for the 350-foot spire at St. Clara Church.
By the way—have YOU come to God through Christ?
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