The Evangelical-Lutheran Church is the national Church of Norway, is administered by the State’s Church department, and represents some 96 per cent (3.6 million) Norwegians. The remainder include 30,000 Pentecostalists, 17,000 Free Church Lutherans, 12, 000 Methodists, 9,000 Baptists, and 5,000 Roman Catholics. Most of the dissenters sprang originally from Reformed groups in the United States or in Great Britain.
For generations there have always been some convinced nonbelievers in the State Church, and during the last decade a few skeptical intellectuals of the older age group have demonstratively left the Church in favor of a bare “human ethical way of life.” Many talented young students, on the other hand, are showing great interest in the thorny problems of human thought and life, and not a few are eagerly seeking religious solutions. Most notable in the last 40 years is the great expansion of Studentlaget (Christian Student Association) which has won a dominating influence in academic circles. Its marked emphasis on the preaching of the Gospel has resulted in college and university students becoming warm adherents to the Christian faith and to evangelical Lutheran confession. This student work is now associated with the Inter-Varsity Fellowship.
The life, activities and opinion of Norwegian Church members are usually assumed to be very individualistic compared with those in Sweden and Denmark, and criticism has arisen from their unwillingness to cooperate if their Christian conviction argues against it. Certainly internal theological controversy has been more of a burning issue in the Church of Norway than in most other parts of the evangelical world. Large numbers of church people were involved in these periodically ...1
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