This week we will start to take a look at whether or not the church is losing its cultural influence. Given that the best way to persuade people to follow Christ is by believers demonstrating what that looks like in action, the question then arises as to how well Christians are carrying out the religious beliefs they profess to believe. While a large majority of Americans say they are either ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ people, focusing on their faith is not a significant priority in life. Only one out of eight adults (12%) say that their faith is their highest priority. Among born-again Christians the outcome is slightly better (20%) but not enough to make a discernible difference. [Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-10”, national survey of 1,005 adults eighteen or older, January 2010. The sub-sample of born-again Christians included 491 people who met the classification criteria]. Most people’s primary goal has little to do with God or faith. Their attention revolves around personal accomplishments and possessions. [Barna Group, “OmniPoll F-10”, national survey of 1,022 adults eighteen or older, December 2010. The sub-sample of born-again Christians included 448 people who met the classification criteria]. Only one out of every six born-again people identified a goal related directly to faith as their top goal. [Ibid]. How is it that so many Americans have a faith that has such little impact on their life choices? Could it be worldview? Every person has a worldview, regardless of age, education achievement, nationality, faith of choice, or political ideology. A worldview is a simple filter that helps us to organize information about the world and our preferences in ways that help us respond to life’s circumstances so that our behavior is consistent with what we believe to be true, right, and proper. One of those worldviews is often described as “Biblical worldview”. This is based upon accepting central precepts taught in the Bible as being true and significant. Elements found in a “Biblical worldview” include:
- The God of Abraham is the one, true God. He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, loving, just, and good.
- Everything that exists was created by God and exists to fulfill His will.
- The purpose of people’s lives is to know and love God, which implies worshiping and obeying Him, as well as serving Him and other people.
- Jesus Christ came to earth to be a sacrifice to God the Father for our sins. He lived on earth, taught truth, died an unjust and painful death on our behalf, was resurrected from death, and is alive today.
- Satan is the enemy of God and has been given temporary influence over the world. While he wishes to and believes he will one day overthrow God, he is incapable of that act.
- God exists in three unique but indivisible persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- God knows and loves every person intimately and desires for each person to constantly and continually seek a deeper, interactive relationship with Him.
- The Bible is God’s inspired and infallible guide for humankind; we are to know and obey His commands and live in accordance with His expressed principles. It is the only tangible source of absolute moral and spiritual truth.
- Every human being has sinned against God and therefore needs a savior; Jesus Christ is that Savior, and we can have an everlasting relationship with God, even beyond our years on earth, only through our confession of sin and embracing the forgiveness of those sins by Jesus Christ.
- All resources and material things were created by God and belong to Him. We may be granted temporary use of those resources for the purpose of advancing His agenda.
- All of the true followers of Jesus Christ constitute the Church. God desires for those followers to live and work in unity with one another, to pursue God’s plans, and to bring as many people as possible into a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus.
The failure to adopt any of these points of view…or a belief that they do not matter…causes responses that are out of sync with God’s plan and desires. Barna Group started to track the prevalence of “Biblical worldview” about 15 years ago. The results have shown consistently the few Americans possess a “Biblical worldview”. Today just 4% of American adults and only 10% of born-again Christians possess a “Biblical worldview”. [Barna Group, “OmniPoll S-08”, national survey of 1,003 adults eighteen or older, May 2008]. In a society as driven by pop trends as ours, the likelihood of behaving like a Biblical Christian without the guiding force of a Biblical worldview is slim to none.
Next week we will take a look at some shocking results that turned up at the turn of this century. As Christians we must carefully evaluate our ability to have a Biblical impact on the world with such results. When churches decide to divorce themselves from the government it is just the beginning of the downward spiral to national failure.
– Bob Munsey