Wednesday, July 21, 2010

America’s Current Christian Worldview

The Barna Group, an organization that tracks the religious and spiritual trends in America, recently revealed the changes in the overall Worldview in today’s Christian circles. The survey gathered data for a period of 13 years before the results were published last year. According to Barna, “If Jesus were to ask, “Who do you say I am,” the question He famously asked his disciple Peter, He would be disappointed by some of the answers He’d receive from contemporary Americans.”

The survey listed specific factors and criteria to define what they presented as a biblical worldview. The definition included the following basic assumptions: “Believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.”

On the surface, most would assume these factors to be quite basic in any so-called Christian nation. But the results were somewhat sobering as the research revealed that only 9% of American adults have a biblical worldview as defined above. In the study, those who claimed to be solidly “born-again” were twice as likely to have the view. But that still only amounted to a mere 19% of the nation. What is confusing, and a bit troubling, is that a full 70% of adults said that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. Then also, half claimed to believe that His word, the Bible, is accurate in the principles it teaches.

Something does not somehow add up somewhere. Something is missing or at least confusing. It appears that the large numbers who believe in an all-powerful and all-knowing God, and the supernatural book He authored, have not had that knowledge translate into how they view or live life. But at the same time, there is something that is becoming abundantly clear. The floundering of present-day America morally, ethically, and even economically may indeed be directly linked to the above statistics.

A disconnect between what one says he believes, and how he or she really acts is not an uncommon topic in Scripture. James addressed the subject in chapter two of his short letter. Verse 14 asks the question, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” Verse 18 continues, ”But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”

Timothy also mentioned the difference between head knowledge and what truly lives in the heart in matters of faith. In the chapter where he speaks about the conditions just before Christ’s return he stated that many would have some form of godliness but would, in reality, deny its power or influence in their lives. This was followed with the trait mentioned in verse seven of chapter three. “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

Lastly, the apostle Peter, in his second epistle, gave instructions to those claiming to have accurate and adequate knowledge of the God of the Bible. Because he knew that sufficient knowledge of the facts of the faith is not enough, if isolated from application, he wrote the following words. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” (2 Peter 1:5-10)

America is in desperate need of an accurate and active Christian worldview. Without it, she will continue down the wrong path. If she can somehow experience revival and take the advice of 2 Chronicles 7:14, she will see again the results recorded by the Psalmist and promised by God!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” (Psalm 33:12)

Bill Breckenridge

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