|Kingdom of Norway|
Area 323,878 sq.km. A long, mountainous fjord-indented land. One of the four Scandinavian countries. Also included are the Arctic dependencies of Jan Mayen and Svalbard (Spitzbergen) Islands 62,000 sq.km.
A further 2,600 on Svalbard (Russians 62%, Norwegians 38%).
Capital Oslo 493,973. Urbanites 75%.
Indigenous 90.7%. Norwegian 4 mill.; Saami (Lapp, 5 groups) 24,000; Roma (Gypsy) 3,500.
European 5.4%. Swedish 46,400; Danish 45,000; British 27,000; former Yugoslav 23,000; German 20,000; Finnish 10,000.
Other 3.9%. North American 23,000; Pakistani 21,000; Vietnamese 15,000; Arab 13,000; Turk 10,000; Iranian 9,000; Tamil 9,000; Polish 8,500; Filipino 8,000; Chinese 6,000; Somali 5,200.
Literacy 96%. Official language Norwegian (Bokmal and Nynorsk). All languages 13. Languages with Scriptures 6Bi 1NT.
Strong and wealthy industrial state with high earnings from oil, mining, fishing and forest products. HDI 0.927; 2nd/174. Public debt 24% of GNP. Income/person $36,100 (115% of USA).
Independent from Sweden in 1905 as a parliamentary monarchy. The only Scandinavian country to stay out of membership of the EU.
The Lutheran Church is the official State Church, but there is complete freedom for other denominations and religions.
2 The 1998 general election resulted in the new Prime Minister and majority of the Cabinet being committed Christians. Many Christians had prayed and fasted for God to intervene and reverse decades of moral slide. Though that government subsequently fell in 2000, Christians have gained a new faith for change in their country.
1 Norway has a rich spiritual heritage. The influence of Pietism, prayer and revival movements within the State Church over the past 200 years are still strong. About 90% of Norwegians are church members and 30% would claim a personal relationship to Christ, but only 5-10% are active and regular participants in congregational life.
2 The Lutheran Church of Norway is unique in Europe, for although it is the State Church, many of the pastors are theologically evangelical. Out of revival and persecution have sprung up many voluntary organizations within the Church agencies, prayer houses and fellowships which have been a source of good in promoting Christian schools, theological education and foreign missions. The State Church has been polarized by the efforts of some bishops to bring in new freedoms for homosexuals within the Church. Pray that this large Church and its leadership may be committed to biblical theology and faith. Pray also for revival once more.
3 The (non-State) Free Churches are a significant minority with high levels of member-commitment to congregational life and to missions. Since 1983 the number of new churches planted has increased significantly both in the older Free Churches, Pentecostals and also many newer independent and charismatic congregations. DAWN conferences have been catalytic for promoting this. In 1998 churches committed themselves to planting 500 new churches by 2003. Pray that the present up-turn in outreach and spiritual life might be strengthened and increased.
4 Theological training is largely in the independent and evangelical Lutheran schools of Oslo and Stavanger, ensuring the strength of the evangelical position in the churches, but there are big pressures on them to compromise on the issue of homosexuality. There are also numerous smaller seminaries and Bible schools providing trained workers for Christian ministry in Norway and abroad. Pray that many may be called and equipped.
5 Young peoples' ministry has been stimulated by the impact of the new charismatic youth movement Jesus Revolution and the older IFES movement. Pray for growth and lasting impact in lives and in new and old churches.
a) Oslo and the surrounding area has a lower number of evangelical Christians but this is where over half the population lives. Some of the newer Pentecostal and charismatic churches have seen many born again and set free from alcohol and drugs.
i) Muslims from North Africa, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Somalia. Over 75% are linked to Muslim activities. There are 51 mosques. Most live in the Oslo area.
ii) Asians of special need are the Sri Lankan Tamils, Vietnamese and Chinese.
iii) Refugees from Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Albania.
7 Norway's commitment to world evangelization has been exemplary. There are an estimated 2,600+ prayer houses (many involved in missions) and 14,000 mission support groups in the country. The Norwegian Mission Council has provided support and fellowship for most of the mission agencies. In 2001 the Norwegian Council for Mission and Evangelism assumed this role. The number of missionaries sent out had declined somewhat, but by 2000 this had stabilized. Saami Christians have started a missionary training college to prepare and send missionaries to reach other Arctic peoples in the fSU. Pray that vision for world evangelization may increase and bear much fruit.
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