Tobias Haslund-Thomsen is an assistant pastor at Aalborg Free Church in Denmark. He recently visited Zambia and we took advantage of his presence to ask him about the Reformed faith in Denmark.

 Tobias, welcome to the interview. Let us begin by knowing who you are. Can you tell us about yourself and where you are coming from?

Thank you so much, my name is Tobias Haslund-Thomsen and I come from Aalborg, which is a city in the northern part of Denmark. I live there with my wife Julie and I am involved in ministry in a local church.

What brings you to Zambia at this time of the year?

Well, the decision to come to Africa was initially made by my wife who wanted to do an internship in Tanzania. But I immediately knew that I wanted to visit Kabwata Baptist Church (KBC). The pulpit ministry of KBC has been getting a lot of international attention, so I wanted to come and see and experience it for myself. KBC’s involvement in church planting and the work of the African Christian University (ACU) were also projects that I wanted to come and experience. I believe that many other churches and nations can learn from what the Zambian Reformed movement is doing.

 Could you share with us briefly on the history of the church in Denmark?

Denmark is the most Lutheran country in the world and was declared a Christian nation in the year 950 A.D. Denmark has to this day a state church that dominates the Christian scene of the nation and counts around 74% of the nation as its members. It, however, promotes a very liberal strain of Lutheran theology and I would consider the state church to have fallen into apostasy. The so-called free churches of Denmark—that would include the Pentecostal churches, Baptists, Methodists, Apostolic and so on—are marginalised but exist throughout the country and have been there for the last 150–200 years.

What is the background to the Reformed faith in Denmark?

The Baptists in Denmark were the pioneers who made it possible through much persecution to have a church society outside of the Lutheran state church. This took place at the beginning of the 1800s and those early Baptists carried with them Reformed theology. Therefore, many of the other free churches of Denmark have their roots in these Reformed forefathers. Despite that, the Reformed theology has been neglected for many years as a result of widespread Lutheran and Pentecostal theology. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence in Reformed theology and in the Reformed movement as a result of the growth of the Reformed movement in the USA.

What is the current spiritual status of the Reformed faith in Denmark?

The Reformed faith in Denmark is fragile. There are very few Reformed churches but there is a rising number of young people who are becoming theologically Reformed as a result of being exposed to Reformed preaching through the internet. If you take into consideration that the movement was practically dead 15 years ago, the recent developments can be looked upon with great optimism.

Reformation Zambia’s current issue is on the subject of prayer. Many people would describe the church today as a prayer-less church. What do you think has gone wrong? What must the church do to regain her lost glory?

I think that what has gone wrong is that church has for many people become a social club, or a mere activity. If church is no longer about the saints corporately relating to their God, prayer will be absent. Another explanation could be that many of the people in church are actually not saved and, therefore, not praying. Maybe they do not believe in the power of prayer or understand what it really is. I think to regain her lost glory the church must start teaching on what prayer is and why we should pray. The church should also teach on what the church is and what the purpose of the church should be for the body of saints and for the individual believer. Lastly, I think that it is necessary for the church elders and pastors to lead by example and show the flock how to navigate these difficult pastures.

How can we pray for you and for your church and nation?

Pray for me and my family that the Lord may grant us strength and faithfulness in ministry. Pray that the Lord may give me and my wife grace in our marriage to reflect the relationship of Christ and the church, to be an example to other young couples.

Pray that the local church that I am a part of will be successful in launching a Christian boarding school. Pray that we will be faithful in reaching the city and the nation with the gospel. Pray for wisdom and strength to our church’s leadership.

Pray that the Christians in the nation will resist the spirit of the age and remain faithful to sound doctrine. Pray that God may look on the nation with mercy and open people’s hearts to the gospel.

Thank you so much, Tobias. We wish you a good stay in Zambia for the remainder of your time.