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HCR024: Interview with an Englishman

In this episode, I interview my friend, Jeremy Craxford, who invited me and Cindy to come to Newcastle, UK, to present a conference. Here are some of the points we discuss:
  • The northeast of England has a rich spiritual heritage, as God used men like John Wesley, William Booth, Alexander Boddie, and others to build the church in years past.
  • Church attendance now in Sunderland, where Jeremy lives, is less than 1%.
  • Jeremy discusses growing up in a home where faith was not important, and the practice then and now of parents in the UK who have no faith but want their children in Sunday School or, sometimes, Christian schools.
  • The Muslim community in the Northeast is much stronger than the Christian community and boasts many more ‘nuclear families.’
  • Jeremy discusses what he believes is the root cause of the spiritual decline in the UK: the pulpits have gone silent. The Word of God is not being preached.
  • Jeremy talks about a turning point in his own life, when he realized his spiritual responsibility to his family.
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Jeremy craxfordJeremy Craxford was born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. He now lives in Sunderland in the North East of England. He works as an accountant and is married to Alison.  They have three daughters between ages 21 and 12, all of whom still live at his home.

He is a very ordinary Christian seeking to love and disciple his family and serve God. He does not lead any churches or head up any organizations, but would love to help plant a church one day. His favorite historical figures are King Alfred the Great, John Wesley, William Booth, Charles Spurgeon and Smith Wigglesworth, the latter four of whom successfully combined pulpit preaching with open air evangelism.  His favorite modern day preachers are David Pawson (not too well known in the USA) and Ray Comfort (who you may well have heard of).  His passion is to see a deep and far-reaching reformation of church life in the UK and Europe affecting pastoral ministry, Bible teaching, evangelism… and family-based discipleship.

4 thoughts on “HCR024: Interview with an Englishman

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  2. Jeremy says:

    One point to follow up. Mark was surprised when I said that we are free to do a religious school assembly and to preach the Gospel in our state schools. Someone else from the US wrote to me and expressed surprise over this. It’s surprising to me as well that there is at least one area of life over here where we have much more freedom than the ‘land of the free’!

    It may surprise you to know that state schools are legally bound to have a religious assembly every day that has to be ‘broadly Christian’. This originates from a major war time reorganisation of schools in our country in which the state took over a lot of church schools. At the time, the Government promised to make a daily act of worship compulsory in order to quell opposition from church groups.

    This law is not really enforced and it’s widely flouted. However, many schools actively seek local churches or Christian groups to help run school assemblies so that they can say that they have a Christian act of worship. This is clearly a big evangelistic opportunity and I know several people who take advantage of this.

    The only down side is that Christian parents tend to be unaware of how deeply opposed to Christianity the secular worldview that is presented in most of our schools is, and the odd Christian assembly does not remedy this. Therefore most children leave school having lost any faith their parents may have wanted them to have. Also, a high proportion of the evangelism in the UK is aimed at children, simply because it is easy to do. I have misgivings about this – didn’t Jesus call his disciples to be fishers of men?

    In the US, in contrast, there is a much clearer perception that state schools are NOT on our side and parents have to do something about it – either by paying for a Christian education or by home-educating their kids – or just be working very hard to make sure they get a Christian worldview at home as an antidote to what the schools are telling them.

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  4. Mark Sechler says:

    Go Jeremy! If an accountant can have a vision for God’s Kingdom, so can the Church leaders in northeast England. I’ve only been to England on business, even in Leeds for a few days in a Pizza Hut!, but the spiritual dryness was evident. May the Lord increase your faith and His Holy Spirit be strongly present to draw people to the Lord. A great and encouraging interview. Thank you Pastor Fox.

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