BARNA TELLS US AREAS OF WEAKNESS NEEDING TARGET PREACHING
CONFERENCE LEADERS, PASTORS AND TEACHERS – please read this article from George Barna’s research. I am taking the liberty to point out [in red] 12 areas to which Barna’s research is telling us we need to give much more attention in our preaching and teaching. This should also be read and digested by leaders of our conference Schools of Ministry. One way of approaching this in the pulpit is to commit over the next six months to address each of these topics in your preaching, and then keep weaving them into your preaching with some regularity. — Pastor Frank
By: George Barna
American Culture and Faith Institute May 24, 2017
Based on their beliefs about what awaits them after they die on earth, three out of every ten adults in the United States are born again Christians. There are many assumptions about the faith of that group – some of which prove to be inaccurate according to a new nationwide survey by the American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI).
Defining Born Again Christians
The survey did not rely upon people to describe themselves as “born again Christian.” Instead, respondents were asked what they thought would happen to them after they die. The respondents were given 10 options to choose from, one of which was the statement “after I die I know I will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.” Thirty percent of the 3000 adults interviewed met that definition. [1. This suggests about 3 out of 10 people in the US confess to being born again.]
That particular response was the most popular of all ten answers offered to participants in the study. Almost as popular was the admission that the individual had no idea what would happen to them after they died, a reply chosen by 25%. [2. This suggests our people need to be getting lots more teaching and preaching on the afterlife, including the Biblical teaching on heaven and hell – eternal rewards and eternal punishments.]
Some Beliefs Are Biblical, Others Are Not
The born again population maintains a combination of biblically accurate and indefensible beliefs. As seen in the accompanying table, most born again adults have biblically correct beliefs on a variety of matters – and are completely inaccurate on others.
In light of the previously-reported finding by ACFI that only 30% of born again adults have a biblical worldview, the hodge podge of beliefs is not unexpected. However, there was not a single biblical belief among the 17 examined in this report that was held by at least 90% of the born again respondents.
Almost nine out of ten (89%) had an orthodox view of the nature of God, while four out of five agreed that God is alive and active in peoples’ lives these days (82%), and that all people are sinners (79%), and that same-sex marriage is inappropriate (78%). Three-quarters of them (76%) also concurred that the Bible is the Word of God and has no errors.
About two out of every three born agains asserted that God created the universe, as described in the Book of Genesis (66%) that the Bible is totally accurate in all the life principles it teaches (64%) [3.This suggests much more preaching and teaching is needed on the Biblical teaching of God as creator and 4. on the authority and infallibility of scripture.]
After that it gets a bit murky.
Less than six out of ten (58%) believe that Satan exists. [Wow! two out of 5 born again believers do not believe Satan exists. 5. More preaching here!]
Only half believes that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life (52%) [6. More preaching here!] or that absolute moral truth exists and is found in the scriptures (47%) [7. More preaching on moral truth as presented in the Scriptures].
Most born again Christians believe that divorce is morally acceptable, that the Holy Spirit is a symbol but does not actually exist, and that success is best defined by activities others than obedience and commitment to God. [8. More preaching on what the Bible says about personal morality.}
Ironically, the truth about eternal salvation appears to be a mystery to most born again adults. Even though they are considered to be born again because they say they have confessed their sins and accepted Christ, rather than tried to earn their salvation by being good or through doing good deeds, only 37% argue that it is impossible to earn one’s way into Heaven. [9. More preaching onJesus as the only path to God.] Further, sharing the good news with non-believers is not on the radar of most born again people: only one-third of them (34%) believe they have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with non-believers [10. More preaching here.]. Maybe that relates to the fact that they also dispute the biblical teaching that people are not basically good due to our sin nature. In contrast, 75% of born agains claim that all people are basically good. [11. A cornerstone teaching of the Bible is that all people worldwide are sinners and can do nothing of merit to commend themselves to a just God. Surely more preaching needed here.]
The ACFI data also pointed out that most born again adults do not read the Bible during a typical week (46% do so) [12. Bible reading also needs new attention and encouragement.] and that one-third of them (34%) say they prefer socialism to capitalism.
About the Research
The research described in this report is drawn from three nationwide online surveys that are part of the FullView™ series. Each wave of the survey had a sample size of 1,000 adults. In each survey, born again Christians were identified not based on self-identification but through their answer to a question about what they expect to experience after they die. For the purposes of this report, the survey responses of born again adults from all three studies were combined, providing a total sample of 902 qualified born again adults. Those three studies were conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute from February 22 through April 27, 2017.
The American Culture & Faith Institute is a division of United in Purpose, a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The mission of United in Purpose is to educate, motivate and activate conservative Christians to engage in cultural transformation in ways that are consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization does not support or promote individual political candidates or parties.
Additional information about this study and related research is accessible on the American Culture & Faith Institute website, located at www.culturefaith.com. To receive a free copy of the weekly research reports produced by ACFI, visit the website and register for the American Culture Review newsletter