This week I will expose a survey result that I found a bit shocking. There has been little overt concern about the lack of a “Biblical worldview” of Americans. A survey taken in 2003 may help explain. Part of the reason for that lack of “Biblical worldview” by Americans could be that the primary religious teachers of Christians are their pastors…and only half of Protestant pastors possess a “Biblical worldview”. [Barna Group, “PastorPoll W-03”, national survey of 601 senior pastors of Protestant churches, November-December 2002]. Pastors cannot and would not teach others what they do not know or believe. They certainly will not make a fuss about the absence of a “Biblical worldview” among their congregants because it would reflect poorly on their own teaching and leadership abilities. Surveys among pastors have shown that about three out of every four Protestant pastors believe that their church “intentionally and continually assists people in developing a “Biblical worldview”[Barna Group, “PastorPoll F-02”, a national survey of 601 senior pastors of Protestant churches, December 2002]; and more than nine out of ten pastors contend that their church is effective in the work.[Ibid]. When half of the pastors do not have a “Biblical worldview” are they really capable of providing for others what they do not have for themselves? Among those pastors who do have a “Biblical worldview”, it rarely emerges as a critical ministry objective. How can a church be effective in developing something that is not held in high priority?
Possessing a correct “Biblical worldview” is central to cultural change because we do what we believe. If we do not believe the principles and precepts communicated in the Bible, we will not live in harmony with them. Instead, we will pursue actions that are consistent with what we really believe…the things that matter to us. There is a disconnection between the people’s faith and lifestyle. People say that their religious faith is very important, because having a slate of religious beliefs gives us a ‘feeling’ of completeness and righteousness, but usually that faith has nothing to do with how we live. Millions of Americans have a sense that something is wrong in our country. Two-thirds of American adults…and four-fifths of born-again Christians…are concerned about the moral condition of the nation. Three-quarters of all Americans are worried about the future of our nation. Two out of three adults are discouraged about the direction our nation is moving. Three-quarters of Americans believe the country is more divided now than at any point during our lifetime. Four out of five citizens argue that most voters…maybe even including themselves?…do not know enough about what is going on in the country to be informed voters.[Barna Group, “OmniPoll 1-14” and “OmniPoll 1-12″, a national survey of 1,005 adults eighteen or older, January 2012; and Barna Group,”OmniPoll F-12″, a national survey of 1,008 adults eighteen or older, November 2012].
What are we going to do about it? Can we rely on our public schools and universities to teach us ‘what we need to know’? Six out ten adults…including three-quarters of all born again adults…say they would like to know how faith and spirituality relate to current issues they are facing in life.[Barna Group,”Frames Wave 1”, a national survey among 1,005 adults, June 2013]. Once again, do we rely on public schools and universities for this information? Three-quarters of all adults…born again or not…say they want to figure out how to live a more meaningful life.[Ibid]. So when more than four out of every five adults say they have a vibrant, meaningful, satisfying, growing, and important relationship with God, it is hard to take that seriously. [Barna Group, “OmniPoll F-09”, a national survey among 1,002 adults eighteen or older, September 2009].
Lack of a “Biblical worldview” certainly does not relieve the Church from its responsibilities to its congregations to teach good Christian citizenship in the world and in the kingdom. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” means that we should all seek good laws that will protect pre-born children; good laws that protect marriages and families; good laws that protect children from the corrupting moral influences that want to use the classroom to teach that all kinds of sexual experimentation outside of marriage is just fine; good laws that will not deny that pornography is a ‘moral cancer’; etc. One reason that Jesus left us here on earth is that we should glorify Him by doing good to other people in all areas of life. We should do good to others, as we have the opportunity, by being a good influence on laws and government and by having a good influence on the political process. Once again, do we rely on public schools and universities to provide this guidance? Should churches teach their congregations how to do ‘good works’ in hospitals and in schools, and in businesses and in neighborhoods, but not in government? Why should that area of life be excluded from the influence of ‘good works’? It is our responsibility to seek the good of our neighbors in every aspect of society, including seeking to bring about good government and good laws. When a church divorces itself from all of its politically related responsibilities, it is not only doing a disservice to its community but to the nation. Our “Biblical worldview” must not only relate to our relationship with God but to our relationship with our fellow man.
Next week we will continue to take a look at the church’s cultural influence and how its efforts in many cases to avoid political connections have lead to its loss of leadership position in our society. This nation is going through a moral war and the church must resume a leadership position in the war or it will be held accountable on judgment day.
– Bob Munsey