(by Jørn Nielsen)

The Spiritual Situation in Denmark – Quo Vadis?

Denmark has just had her 475 years´ anniversary of the Lutheran reformation introduced into my country on Oct. 30, 1536. Religion was more than anything on the agenda with this biggest question of all, how can we get right with God? Did the Catholic church have the answer – or did the gospel preached by Luther show a better way? The gospel prevailed, and Denmark became Lutheran, the reading of the Bible was encouraged – the reformatory battle cry was "Sola Scriptura" – the preaching of the word was in focus, and the "The Evangelical Lutheran Church" emerged, for short just called "The People's Church".

475 years ago the reformation brought about spiritual revival, renewal, liberty, a day of reckoning was there, religious superstition, heretical ideas opposed to the word of God, salvation by good deeds, the idolizing of Mary etc. were abolished. The Bible became more and more the Book for the common people instead of the Book for the Church and its priests who cared very little about it anyway.

What is on our spiritual agenda today? Well, we still have a Lutheran state church and , mind you, financed by the state. The Bible is still within everybody's reach. The doctrine of justification by faith without good works is still being cherished as a pretext for doing nothing. The Lutheran church would widely preach that all is well because of the infant baptism, God loves you, and if you don't believe in Him, He still believes in you, so everything in the garden is lovely. But the Danish people as such don't care. They take pride in staying away from the church in which and unto which 80% of the population was baptized. So they are formal church members just for safety's sake, as it were, but really they don't care.

You may compare our spiritual situation with that of G.B. in the beginning of the 18th century just before Wesley and Whitefield entered the scene as God's anointed tools for nationwide awakenings – in G.B., indeed, but also, as you may know, on American soil, in the colonies, at that time still under British rule. Before those men of God came along, the cravings of the British people were the same as they are now in Denmark, i.e. materialism, rationalism, idolatry, immorality, ridicule of religion, etc. etc. It has been said, and rightly so, that God's gracious intervention through the ministry of those godly men saved G.B. from the disaster of another French revolution with similar atheistic results.

This is more or less where we are right now in Denmark. Many believe that the present Danish parliament with a socialistic government is the most atheistic or agnostic rule we have had in Denmark so far. We have in many ways gone still further down the slippery slope, toward the abyss, with the welcome, nay, the glorification of homosexuality, same sex marriages as a human right (will soon be imposed on the State Church as law), and now there's also a widespread anti-Semitism and the flirting with or embrace of Islam.

We have over the centuries had nationwide awakenings in Denmark, even within the Lutheran Church (praise God), but that's more than 100 years, maybe 150 years ago. And so has Norway, my wife's country. But let us in conclusion call our solemn attention to what is the need of the hour in Denmark.

We need a spiritual revival of God's people in Denmark. A return to our basics. A return to the Bible, to repentance and "godly sorrow" before the Lord (2 Cor. 7:10). "There's no conviction of sin in this country", an old missionary lady to China once said to me. Anyway, we need another break-away from worldliness and a renewed zeal for lost souls, realizing that revival must start with God's people. I believe Finney was right when he said that revival is nothing but another step of obedience. It is as simple as that. The reason why Christianity is being mocked, could be the fact that Christian people are often a mockery themselves and so they are not being taken seriously. The need is for a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit on our lives, individually and corporately. It's not done by trying this or that "sales method" or cultivating a heavier rock music program, for "the rushing mighty wind" of revival never came that way. So the need is for a deep humiliation on the part of us, God's people, with a genuine Spirit of prayer. There's nothing new under the sun. This is still God's message, and we can't do a greater favour to one another than obeying it.