Only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians”, compared to 100% of clergy from growing churches.
71% of clergy from growing churches read the Bible daily compared with 19% from declining churches.
46% of people attending growing churches read the Bible once a week compared with 26% from declining churches.
93% of clergy and 83% of worshippers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb”. This compared with 67% of worshippers and 56% of clergy from declining churches.
100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers”, compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches.
The brilliant professor of philosophy at London University, C.E.M. Joad, was not a Christian. He was asked on a radio programme, ‘If you could meet any person from the past and ask them just one question, whom would you meet and what question would you ask?’
Professor Joad answered without hesitation: ‘I would meet Jesus Christ and ask him the most important question in the world – “Did you or did you not rise from the dead?”’
There came a day in Professor Joad’s life when he assessed the evidence, encountered Jesus himself and wrote a book called, Recovery of Belief. If Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, this changes everything.
When every argument has been considered and weiged, the only conclusion acceptable to the historian must be that the opinions of the orthodox, the liberal sympathiser and the critical agnostic alike – and even perhaps of the disciples themselves – are simply interpretations of the one diconcrting fact: namely that the women who set out to pay their last respects to Jesus found to their consternation, not a body, but an empty tomb.