Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not Loving God with all our Mind

This is from an April 9, 2009 report from Barna Research. If it is accurate, it explains much about the sterility and banality of American "Christianity."

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Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.

5 comments:

Eternal Truths said...

These statistics are not surprising. I have heard it argued that the future of Christianity is fast approaching Fideism or Existentialism, which I suspect is true, but need to think more about it.

Sarah

D. A. Armstrong said...

Much of Christianity is already Fideistic/Existential. The only difference between the future and today, is at least today some churches still give lip service to doctrine. I find the sermons at our church are biblical exposition mixed with pop psychology. Almost no systematic doctrine is taught. It's really too bad.

pennoyer said...

We must stay encouraged in the midst of this kind of sad report - encouraged because Jesus is still Lord of the Church and he has called each of us to do our part for the Kingdom of God. But it does seem like there are so many "battle fronts" on which the church must work! Basic doctrine is one of them.

In the "bad news" department, perhaps you are familiar with the work of Christian Smith, professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He studies the religious views of American teenagers. The average teenager believes in something he calls "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." When asked in an interview if the situation is different in conservative, bible-teaching churches, here is his response: "It's unbelievable the proportion of conservative Protestant teens who do not seem to grasp elementary concepts of the gospel concerning grace and justification. Their view is: be a good person."

Every Christian pastor, every believing teacher, every parent, has work to do.

Ray

Doug Groothuis said...

I am familiar with Christian Smith's work. Truth is not sticking to the souls of many teens (and others). We must preach, defend, and live out the truth, come what may through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). And, as Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up!"

Jenn said...

This is all the more reason to pray for revival in our churches. If the church gets grounded back in truth, what impact do you think we could make on this country?