Here’s the final talk in a series of six kids talks on British Church History. The first talk is HERE, second HERE, third HERE, fourth HERE and fifth HERE. This talk focuses on why we have a variety of churches in the UK today. This talk has been given in church and also been adapted for a junior school assembly.
[Powerpoint for this talk HERE]
Does anyone recognise these building?
- All Saints Church, Banstead
- Banstead United Reformed Church
- Banstead Methodist Church
- Banstead Baptist Church
In Banstead Village there are five protestant churches. The four I’ve just shown you on the screen plus another church I think we’re all familiar with called Banstead Community Church.
After Oliver Cromwell, the English Civil War and the conflict over what the official religion of England was, there was an Act of Parliament called the Act of Toleration in 1689. This meant that Protestants, who weren’t part of the Church of England, were legally allowed to have their own churches and Christian traditions.
So after this gradually more and more churches which weren’t part of the Church of England started up.
But why do we have all these different groups of churches or denominations? Why don’t we have one Protestant church in the UK?
Well, the church is a bit like a family.
In my family, we have me, my wife Kate, our daughter Molly, our son Harry, and our dog Piper. Now each of us has different interests, different likes and dislikes.
I like watching sport, Kate likes watching documentaries, and Molly likes kid’s programmes. And I support Crystal Palace, Kate supports Spurs, and Molly supports Chelsea. Harry likes Piper, and Piper just likes chicken!
Even though we have different interests we are still part of the same family!
Like a family, the church family is full of people who have different interests, different likes and dislikes, and who have slightly different ways of understanding some of the verses the Bible. But because they all trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour they are united to one another as part of the same family.
In some churches, they will baptise babies, but in other churches they will only baptise people who believe in Jesus. In some churches, there will only be an organ playing, but in other churches there will be a band leading the music. In some churches, the minister will wear a dog collar others jeans and a shirt. And there are lots of other ways in which churches are different from one another.
But even they are differences they all agree on the most important thing which is they love Jesus and that unites them and makes them part of the same family. If a church doesn’t believe in Jesus, that only by trusting in Jesus’ death people can be saved, they aren’t actually a church even though they might call themselves one. Sadly there are lots of churches like this.
In UK today, there are a variety of churches that people can go to. In Banstead there are a variety of different churches that we can go to. But even though there are a variety of different churches, they still make up the one church if it believes in Jesus.
Why is it good that we have different types of churches? One answer is because different group of Christians disagreed on the way the Bible should be interpreted. But another reason, which is the reason for the new churches that are forming today, is to reach different people, people who aren’t interested in the gospel. The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”.
Different types of churches will be better able and equipped to reach different people with the message of the gospel. Providing they are not sinning in what they are doing, it’s okay to do church in a different way because ultimately what matters is that some people are saved by Jesus.
So let’s recap our journey of the history of Christianity, the history of the church in the UK…
ARRIVAL: The good news about Jesus arrived in England, thanks to Christian Roman traders.
ATTACKED: The Vikings threatened to wipe out the church, but God used men like Alfred the Great to preserve it.
ORGANISED: Under William the Conqueror and the Normans the church in England was organised and made central to everyday life.
REFORMED: In order to divorce his wife, King Henry VIII split the church in England into Protestants and Catholics.
FREEDOM: In years that followed the Reformation, there was much conflict, not only between Protestants and Catholics but also between different groups within the Protestant church but this ultimately led to freedom to worship in Britain.
VARIETY: Today we have lots of different types of churches which make up the Christian church in England.
And we look back on all this, we can see that Jesus command to his followers to tell others all over the world has been obeyed, and His promise to build His church has been kept.
Thank God that there are lots of places where we can hear the good news about Jesus in England, in Banstead.