This is the third part in a continuing series on the Youth of Western Europe, with a focus on France. See below for links to the first two parts of this series.
The political animosity of France seems not only to be directed at the U.S., but also at the Christianity it sees portrayed by the U.S. This unfortunate association, combined with historical milieu of the country, as well as its confusing religious history – where Christianity fought itself more than it ministered to its people – have led to the alarming state of lostness among French youth. They must be reached with the Gospel in this generation! To have such a highly technological and ostensibly educated society’s youth reject Christ would erode the “progress” of the last centuries. If the church cannot keep its children and address this situation in every country, it cannot claim to have reached a people.
According to the 24-7prayer.com website,
“80% of the youth population of France have never even seen or held a Bible!”
Couple that with France’s long history of persecuting religious minorities, and one can see how any authentic, Bible-believing fellowship that emerges could easily receive the moniker of “cult.” Although the evangelical community in France is greater than 500,000, most of those are over the age of 40. In fact, it is reported that there are more full-time occultic practitioners in France than there are Christian workers (24/7prayer.com reports 50,000 occultic practitioners)!
“Of France’s 60 million inhabitants, about 40 million consider themselves Catholic, but only about 5 million attend church each month. Up to 5 million are Muslim and 650,000 are Jewish. One million are Protestants; about 650,000 of them belong to the often austere and liturgical Reformed and Lutheran churches, but only a small proportion attend church regularly,” reported a February 2005 Christianity Today article.
The article claims that there are the 350,000 evangelical churchgoers in France, but most French are deists, agnostics, and atheists ripe for a renewed effort of the church.
Scripture exhorts the church to preach the Gospel to all nations, but it is not a one-time event. Our Lord obviously meant to “keep preaching” the Gospel – not to drop a Bible bomb on a culture and then move on, thinking the task was done. Historically the church has done a better job of exposing people to the Gospel than it has curing them of paganism. All these factors lead to the need to re-examine our “unreached peoples” classification and press forward in the understanding that we must make disciples and not reap decisions from the nations. The youth of France are in desperate need of the transforming power of the Gospel and to be reached with its life-giving truth.