The Republic of Finland is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east. The population of Finland is approximately 5.5 million, with the majority living in the southernmost regions. Finland is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of geographic area, while at the same time, the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is governed by a parliamentary republic, with its central government located in the capital of Helsinki. About one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area, where one third of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is produced. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio. Finland’s per-capita income is over $43,400, making it one of the wealthiest nations in the world. It is considered by many to have the best educational system in Europe and has been ranked as one of the world’s most peaceful countries. It has the reputation of offering the highest quality of life in the world. Newsweek magazine declared Finland to be “the best country in the world.”
Finnish Church history finds its roots in the Christianizing of Scandinavia, which first started in the 11th century. When Swedish immigrants (and later crusades) brought Christianity to Finland in the 12th century, people were offered the new religion and peace. Unfortunately, if they refused the offer, the conquered areas were forced to receive Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church and its doctrines mainly influenced the first churches in Finland. The 16th century reformation reached Finland through Michael Agricola (who studied in Wittenberg under Martin Luther). He started preaching in Finnish and translated the New Testament into Finnish, bringing the Word of God to the common people. Towards the end of the 16th century, Lutheranism was made the official religion of Finland. Lutheranism still remains the most dominant denomination today.
Today, much of the reformation doctrines and faithful preaching of the Word of God have sadly disappeared from the Finnish Church. Theological liberalism and rationalism have crept into the church and perverted the Gospel so that it no longer has any connection to the fundamental truths of the Bible. Bible-believing Churches are few and far spread out through the country. Though officially known as a “Christian” country, with about 80% of the population being members of the Lutheran Church, less than half of the members of a Christian Church believes in the God of the Bible, and even fewer believing the Bible to be authoritative, inspired, infallible, and sufficient. Christ words in Luke 10 that “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” could not be more applicable to the Finnish society today.
Sources: Wikipedia and Operation World