Hey. Are you in a good mood? Are you encouraged that Christians are finally banding together to stand up for biblical truth? Does it excite you to think about Christians stepping forward into the culture to proclaim that there is but one way of salvation and his name is Jesus? If you are...allow me to spoil your mood.
Pew research came out with its religious landscape study today (or at least, I heard about it today on the Albert Mohler radio show), and the findings are, to say the least, unsettling. It turns out that more than half of the people in this country who claim to be Christians don't know how to read their Bible. Here are some results from the survey:
More than 35,000 Americans were surveyed. Of those, 9,472 claimed to be evangelical Christians (also, Evangelicals were the made up the largest group of respondents). These folks were surveyed on both their core beliefs and practices, and also their social and political involvement. I'll just highlight a few areas that I found to be particularly disturbing.
1) It seems that 36% of all evangelical Christians in this country feel that abortion should be legal in most if not all circumstances. 36%! Let me say something here: abortion is NOT a political issue. Whatever side of the political aisle you fall on should not and must not have an impact on how you feel about life. Instead, scripture should determine how you feel about life. It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with how God feels about life - all life. God created mankind in his image (Genesis 1.27, James 3.9-10, etc.); God is intricately involved in the pre-born development of children (Psalm 139.13, 15, Psalm 22.10-11, Galatians 1.15, etc.); Jesus paid special attention to the poor, unloved, weak, vulnerable, and powerless. How much more poor, lowly, and vulnerable can you get than to be unborn? There's a segment of Christians these days (as evidenced by the 36%) that feel that Christians are too wrapped up in fighting homosexuality (which we'll get to in just a minute) and abortion, and that we don't care enough for the poor, starving, etc. To an extent I can agree - we can't disregard those pressing needs. However - poor people and hungry people at least have a voice. They can take action. They can do something. An unborn child can't even speak, let alone defend himself! And more than that, God is about life, as evidenced by even the briefest glimpse of scripture, and therefore those who bear the title of Christian should be as well. Read you Bibles, people.
2) The next encouraging (since you can't see my face, I feel it necessary to inform you that this is sarcasm), is that 26% of evangelical Christians believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Show me the verse that even hints at this! Scripture condemns ANY type of sexual sin, and says that believers should flee from all sin. Societal acceptance doesn't make something right (in most cases, societal acceptance just proves that the majority of people can be wrong). But I feel I must add something else here. The church in general has done a poor job of loving homosexuals. We see them as untouchable or unreachable, and by seeing them in such a way, we are transgressing the second greatest commandment (love your neighbor as yourself). They are sinners, as are all people. We must love them - not by approving or "accepting" what they are doing, but by identifying with them, and most of all, sharing the gospel with them. Again, read your Bibles, people.
3) 54% or evangelical Christians believe that we need to take serious action in regards to the protecting the environment and combating global warming. I've commented before on global warming and the Christian, so check that out. But again, what it boils down to is people need to read their Bibles to figure what what to think about this stuff. Don't just go with what the media and society is saying.
4) And now for the most encouraging news of the day - and this one is shocking - utterly shocking, when you think about it. I'm actually shaking my head in disbelief as I write this. 60% OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD. Did you hear that? Do I need to write it in capital letters again for you in order for it to sink in? Ok. 57% OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD. That means that they DON'T believe that Jesus is the only way. They don't believe that no man can come to the Father but by Christ. Something is seriously wrong. I'm not sure what it is. Hopefully it's a result of people not knowing how to identify themselves religiously, so they just identified themselves as an evangelical Christian because they didn't know what else to put. If this accurately represents evangelical Christianity, we have got serious problems. God is going to be working over time on separating the sheep from the goats. What's it come back to? READ YOUR BIBLE. Does the Bible suggest that there are many ways to God, or merely one, being Christ? I would think that even if you've just gone to Sunday School and church your whole life with no other spiritual conviction or activity, that you would be able to realize that Jesus claims to be the only way. It couldn't be more implicit in scripture. Do I need to quote John 14.6? I wouldn't think so.
There are, as I see it, only two conclusions that one must come to when analyzing these statistics: A) people are ignorant, stupid, and fell asleep their entire life at church, or B) the church and its ministers of the gospel have failed miserably at preaching biblical truth. Which is it? A little from column A, a little from column B. But mostly column B. I think we've neglected to preach the gospel in truth, and preach the moral implications of the gospel. It's so clearly outlined in scripture, how could it be missed? The only way that it could be missed is if the truth is misrepresented. The American church needs a rude awakening. Maybe we need some persecution. Maybe we need some economic distress. Whatever it is, pray that God would purify and refine his church.