It is probably no surprise to most of us that Americans are becoming more and more ignorant of the Bible. What with fewer and fewer Americans identifying themselves as practicing Christians and the dumbing-down of the Gospel in many churches, plus the growing number of “progressive Christians”, it should not surprise us at all. But a recent study is nevertheless alarming.
Ligonier Ministries, in conjunction with LifeWay Research, published their annual “theological temperature of the American church” recently. In it, they questioned those who identify as “evangelical Christians” and found some very troubling things. They define “evangelical” as a Christian believer who meets four criteria: that the Bible is the highest authority for what someone believes, that it is important for non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their savior, that Jesus’ death on the cross is the only sacrifice that removes the penalty of humanity’s sin, and that only those who trust in Him alone receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
According to a recent “Breakpoint” post from the (Chuck) Colson Center for Christian Worldview, the definition is one of the only positives in the poll! Beyond that:
- nearly half of evangelicals agreed that God “learns and adapts” to different circumstances
- 65% of evangelicals agreed that everyone is “born innocent in the eyes of God”
- 56% agreed that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam”
- And 43% of evangelical Christians agreed with the statement, “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God” (just two years ago, that number was 30%!)
Mind you, these are EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS (self-identified), not progressive, mainline Christians. Our study that begins this week on “Another Gospel?” will help us to understand and combat progressive Christian ideas that run against the heart of the Gospel. Mike Whitmore has given me a book on another recent study by the Barna Group called “American Worldview Inventory 2021-22” that I am anxious to read, as I expect it will shed even more light on this decline in Christian worldview in America.
It is worth noting that these numbers are NOT because evangelical Christians have a low view of the Bible. 95% of the respondents agree with the statement that “the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches!” That means that they simply don’t know what it teaches!
Here at The Fount, we are trying to reverse these declining numbers by teaching the Bible and Christian doctrine. But we must do more, since we are only a small church. We all need to be standing up for a biblical worldview and the Truth of the Gospel. “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15b-16a)
This is why we are here, and why we must continue the mission.
In the Hope of the Gospel,