Church doesn't think like Jesus
Survey shows only 9% of Christians have biblical worldview
WorldNetDaily.com, Posted: December 3, 2003, 1:00 a.m. Eastern
Commentary by Brad Scott at the end of the article.
A new survey by pollster George Barna finds only 9 percent of born-again Christians hold a biblical worldview.
Barna, who surveyed 2,033 adults in his study, found only 4 percent of the general population have a biblical worldview and suggests many of the nation's moral and spiritual challenges are directly attributable to this fact.
"If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus," said Barna. "Sadly, few people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of Jesus. The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus. Behavior stems from what we think, our attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions. Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life. We're often more concerned with survival amidst chaos than with experiencing truth and significance."
For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.
Only 7 percent of Protestants overall maintained a biblical worldview, according to the study. Of adults who attend mainline Protestant churches, only 2 percent shared those values. Among Catholics, less than one-half of 1 percent had a biblical worldview. The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches, with 13 percent, Pentecostal churches, with 10 percent, and Baptist churches with 8 percent.
Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism, which seemed to be the dominant perspective among the two youngest generations.
One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence of such a way of thinking upon people's behavior. Adults with a biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality, held divergent religious beliefs and demonstrated vastly different lifestyle choices.
People's views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their worldview.
Upon comparing the perspectives of those who have a biblical worldview with those who do not, the former group were 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation; 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness; 15 times less likely to condone homosexual sex; 12 times less likely to accept profanity; and 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable.
In addition, less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39 percent of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed abortion (compared to 46 percent of adults who lack a biblical worldview).
Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser propensity for those with a biblical worldview to gamble (they were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to have discussed spiritual matters with other people in the past month and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so.
The Barna Research Group, Ltd. is an independent marketing research company located in Southern California. Since 1984, it has been studying cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.
by Brad Scott
This survey should not be a surprise to anyone who routinely visits this web site. Although the ignorance percentages are not surprising, there are still so many redefined terms in this synopsis of the survey, that I do not know where to begin. The article begins with a summarizing comment about the biblical world view of Christians in this country. This world view is juxtaposed with our moral and spiritual challanges. Just what does Mr. Barna, who I quote quite often, mean by a biblical world view? This we are basically told toward the end of the article. The focus of Mr. Barna's article is a given. Most Christians in this culture do not know King David from King Midas. Most Christian's understanding of theology, salvation, and biblical obedience comes primarily from their minister, Christian authors and speakers, Christian television programs, and movies with a Christian theme. The reason for believing unscriptural doctrine and abominable practices should be evident. The source of most doctrine and practices of the modern church is not coming from the Bible, but rather our Christian religious culture. It seems that George Barna knows this, as well.
As I said earlier, there are so many comments stemming from modern, redefined paradigms that I certainly cannot address them all. There are a couple that stand out for me, however. It is my opinion that Mr. Barna's short list of the statements that determined whether one had a biblical world view or not was fairly reasonable. Here is what he wrote. "For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings." Not only did an average of over 90% of the respondents to these statements give a nonbiblical answer or view, but I am not sure that Mr. Barna holds a biblical view either. I wonder if he has any concept of what he means when he states, "... God is the all-powerful, and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still RULES today ... the Bible is accurate in ALL of it's teachings." For purposes of accuracy and honesty, let me restate what the modern Christian means by those two statements. "We believe that the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator still rules the Christians by grace in the same way He used to rule the Jews by the law. And we believe that all of the Old Testament teachings were true for the Jew, but all of the New Testament teachings are true for the Christian." How much would any of us be willing to bet that if a surveyee answered those two statements in the affirmative, that he or she would be counted among those who have a biblical world view?
My first concern was with the criteria used to determine what a biblical world view is. Later on in the article my concern was answered. The Bible's criteria for what is scriptural or not scriptural, moral or immoral, righteous or unrighteous, godly or ungodly was quietly ignored and circumvented. It was replaced by modern religious views of what determines a person's biblical morality. The criteria was based upon the surveyee's response to pornography, gambling, drinking, adultery, homosexuality and profanity. I was shocked that smoking and watching R-rated movies were not on the list. Now, let me first say that I am not condoning any of those activities. But these are cultural lines that are drawn, and not biblical. The very survey itself has thrown out what the Bible calls profane, corrupt or abominable. Of the six heinous acts listed, only two are specifically condemned in scripture: adultery and homosexuality. However, what the Scriptures record as straying away from God is not even mentioned. The Scriptures are replete with prophecies concerning what constitutes departing from the faith. His people will profane the sabbaths, pollute the festivals, rebel against His commandments, forget His covenants, and profane His name. The bottom line is that we judge one another according to our cultural norms and not the Scriptures. I am convinced that our dominant religious culture has simply raised the stick on what is considered a biblical world view. I think Mr. Barna should do a survey on what religious people mean when they ask or state that the Bible teaches absolute moral truths. What do you think the percentages would be then?
Oh, yes, one more comment. Mr. Barna's title to this survey is "The Church doesn't think like Jesus." I disagree. The modern Church is responding quite naturally to the "Jesus" the modern church presents, and that is the reason why our morals are not biblical. It is time for the modern church to stop blaming Hollywood, liberals, the media, and Howard Dean. The modern church and the media would have us believe that the unbelieving liberal 10% are determining our moral values. The truth is that 90% of this country are professing Christians, and they ARE determining our values. The model of evil has never changed, it is the paradigm of goodness that has morphed.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊