Skip to comments.ALL CHRISTIANS HAVE A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW, RIGHT?
Posted on 01/16/2007 8:00:22 AM PST by cowboyfan88
You would think that all Christians have a biblical view of the world around them. After all, we go to church, were a part of a small group, weve read The Purpose-Driven Life. Are you ready for a reality check? The research says just the opposite. Most Christians do not have a biblical worldview.
Author and researcher George Barna made waves by citing statistics that show just 9 percent of all adults in America who claim to be born again have a biblical worldview. You didnt read that incorrectlyit was 9 percent. Protestants as a whole could only manage 7 percent with a biblical worldview (The Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).
But that cant be possible, can it? How could only 9 percent of born again adults view the world with a biblical focus? Let me make a few observations.
Bible illiteracy is rampant in the church
Like it or not, its time we faced up to the fact that we Christians are blatantly biblically illiterate. We dont know the Bible nearly as well as we think we do.
To say that Bible illiteracy is rampant in America is black eye for a nation that thinks of itself as Christian. Sixty-five percent of Americans agree that the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life." Amazingly, 28% of Americans who believe the Bible answers all or most of the basic questions of life say they rarely or never read the Bible (The Gallup Organization, October 20, 2000). Therein lies the problem.
But thats the American public. What about the American church? Surely we arent as biblically illiterate as our unchurched neighbor? Dont count on it.
Among those individuals who are associated with the Christian faith, only half (50%) rate themselves as being absolutely committed to the Christian faith (Barna Research Group, March 19, 2004). This lack of commitment to the faith often stems from a lack of commitment to the Word of God, the foundation for our faith.
In 2004, 16% of all adults agreed somewhat that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 19% in 2002 and 25% in 1991. Still, 12 percent of born again Christians disagree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings (Barna Research Group, The Bible, 2004).
This innate mistrust of the Bible has resulted in millions of people owning Bibles but very few reading or believing them. The percentage of frequent readers, those who read the Bible at least once a week, has decreased from 40% in 1990 to 37% today. Only one American in seven reports an involvement with the Bible that goes beyond reading it (The Gallup Organization, October 20, 2000). The born again segment of the population fares only slightly better.
But with more programs, more 40-day adventures, more training in leadership skills, surely todays pastors are better equipped than ever before to help their people out of the quagmire of Bible illiteracy. Youd think.
Pastors often do not themselves hold biblical worldviews.
Isaiah 56:11 makes reference to shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way . . . . We have to be careful not to generalize here because there are many fine men of God who are concerned about their peoples understanding of the Word. Still, an increasing number look to their own way, or if not their own way, the way of the latest hot book on church growth.
Based on interviews with 601 Senior Pastors nationwide, representing a random cross-section of Protestant churches, Barna reports that only half of the countrys Protestant pastors 51% - have a biblical worldview (Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).
George Barna argued, The low percentage of Christians who have a biblical worldview is a direct reflection of the fact that half of our primary religious teachers and leaders (senior pastors) do not have one.
In some denominations, the vast majority of clergy do not have a biblical worldview, and it shows up clearly in the data related to the theological views and moral choices of people who attend those churches (Barna Research Group, January 12, 2004).
The result of Bible illiteracy is theological heterodoxy.
Heterodoxy is just a big word for whacky theology. Because people in the pews dont know their Bibles very well, and because the pastor feels constrained to preach so as not to offend the mixed multitude attending church on Sunday morning, born-again adults are beginning to formulate some beliefs and practices that are anything but biblical.
George Barna says that Americans willingly embrace beliefs that are logically contradictory and their preference for blending different faith views together create unorthodox religious viewpoints.
Consider these findings:
n Among born again Christians, 10% believe that people are reincarnated after death.
n Among born again Christians, 29% claim it is possible to communicate with the dead.
n Fifty percent of born again Christians contend that a person can earn salvation based upon good works (Barna Research Group, October 21, 2003).
Dont miss this. We are not talking about the beliefs of Americans here. We arent even talking about the beliefs of churched Americans. We are talking about born-again, churched Americans. These are things believed by the people who sat in the pew next to you last Sunday.
4. Biblical illiteracy that leads to theological heterodoxy always leads to moral frailty.
Those who have a biblical worldview also hold to biblical concepts and standards for living. Heres the proof.
n Less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39% of other adults).
n Those people with a biblical worldview were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets than those who did not have a biblical worldview.
n While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so (Barna Research Group, December 1, 2003).
Obviously knowing the Bible well impacts living with a biblical worldview and vice versa.
Follow the progression. We read our Bibles less and therefore understand less biblical truth. We attend a church where biblical truth was once the hallmark of the pulpit, but today the pulpit has been removed and we are fed a steady diet of spiritual gummy bears, more tasteless filling.
As a dumbed-down church we look for a belief system that matches others who have come into the church or those we read or watch on Christian television or hear on Christian radio.
We are so biblically ignorant we dont even know that weve adopted beliefs that are much closer to Eastern mysticism than Christian orthodoxy. As a result, even though we are proudly part of the born again segment of Christianity, we hold a worldview that is no more biblical than our non-churched neighbor.
Does that hurt? It should. The truth often hurts. But we cannot correct the flaws in our worldview until we admit those flaws exist. And do they ever exist!
In future articles well address what you can do if you feel your worldview weakening. For now, get back to the Bible and youll start to reverse the progression toward moral malaise.
PING TO THE TRUTH HURTS!
Her biggest theological issue seemed to be: "Do pets go to heaven?" Her answer was "Absolutely yes!" because heaven wouldn't be fun without dogs and kitties.
I'm currently searching for a new church (of course).
A female pastor is currently a definite deal-killer in my quest for a new church.
Is the church meant to change the world? Those of us approaching this from the POV of Postmillennialism and the Reformation would say yes, the blood of Christ is capable of redeeming everything affected by the Fall, flowing outward from the repentant/obedient soul, compounded by the number of repentant/obedient souls, effecting a progressive change in culture and politics and art and everything produced by man. In fact, some believe that the Bible gives us guidelines in how to behave, as redeemed individuals, in each of these areas. Can a man repent of his old behavior, unless he has a new set of behaviors to substitute for them? And what should he expect from those new behaviors?
Many (but not all) approaching this from other POVs, especially Scofield-flavored Dispensational Premillennialism would say no, leave the culture alone. The culture will not (cannot?) be redeemed by anything - including a wholesale repentance and conversion of the population - other than the physical return of Christ. "You don't polish the brass on a sinking ship!" said evangelist Dwight L. Moody. If your theology teaches that Christians shouldn't "polish the brass on a sinking ship", you will probably discount or avoid altogether other ship-related disciplines as hull & sail repair, mastering sea-sickness, and simple navigation. Which is all fine and good, if you don't expect anyone to have an impact beyond making more converts, who themselves have no impact beyond making more converts, and so on.
In short, can we expect Christians to have a "biblical worldview", if we simultaneously tell them that they won't be having any lasting impact on that world anyway?
No matter what denomination your church is it is very important that it have a good religious education program based on Scripture. It should be available from K- Highschool and include adult classes. It should be emphasized that a parents responsibility for their child's religious education does not begin and end with Sunday church attendance.
The enemy has many tools. We can not afford to hand him even more.
Nope. The woman he referred to didn't have wacky ideas because she's female. Women as equally as capable of studying and believing the Bible as men. :-)
Alex, I think you make some good points. I have done a lot of reading in the post-millennial community of late, and have enjoyed it. I am not fully committed to this point of view yet, but I do understand the inherent problems with complaining about the lack of a Biblical worldview whilst telling the congregation that it will make no difference anyway.
I agree that her ideas are not based on her being a woman. I never said that women are unable to study and believe the Bible. However, according to Scripture, they are not to be in positions of authority over men in the church.
The religion of the natural man.
Scofield-flavored Dispensational Premillennialism would say no, leave the culture alone. The culture will not (cannot?) be redeemed by anything - including a wholesale repentance and conversion of the population - other than the physical return of Christ.
I am one of those, and I think, for me, you have mischaracterized our position. What you have stated does not at all represent our perspective.
But, let's not get into this...the author's point is much broader than that - a biblical worldview sees the entire world, economics, history, ethics, family, community - you name it, from a biblical perspective. In other words, how does God see it. It is not just evangelism, it is a biblical perspective on my job, my recreation, my friendships...everything I do, from God's perspective, and how can I do what I do to His glory.
No, they are not.
Please provide Scriptural support for women taking positions of authority over men in the church.
Thanks. Wasn't trying to start an argument, just pointing out that IMO different starting points will produce different results.
...the author's point is much broader than that - a biblical worldview sees the entire world, economics, history, ethics, family, community - you name it, from a biblical perspective. In other words, how does God see it. It is not just evangelism, it is a biblical perspective on my job, my recreation, my friendships...everything I do, from God's perspective, and how can I do what I do to His glory.
I agree entirely. My intention here is to point out that not everyone holds to the same "biblical perspective", thus they don't agree with certain behaviors or beliefs that contradict that perspective, and thus they believe that others don't have a perspective at all.
Case in point: I'm a postmil. I don't believe we're in the last generation, nor do I believe that subcutaneous banking chips/barcodes on the hands/social security numbers etc are necc. evil and should be stopped at all costs (I may object to them on other biblical grounds, but not on the basis of premil interpretations of prophecy). And I guarantee that statement will be enough for some to brand my own "Biblical worldview" as being misled (at best), if not openly satanic and antisemitic (at worst).
All I'm saying is that there's no consensus among Christians (Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox) about what that worldview looks like or what it's demands are. To suggest that Christians should hold to a certain worldview is to assume that they already hold to a certain understanding of the Bible.
I happen to think my "biblical worldview" is the correct one (I'm sure some will emphatically disagree with me), but we all think that about our own views. And naturally, I think/hope that others should share my views, thus I make efforts great and small to persuade them to change their minds. Why would I (or anyone) hold a view that we simultaneously think is incorrect or deficient? Why would I (or anyone) change our minds, unless we discover otherwise?
Only 9% agree with Barna and his wordings.
If you're checking out new churches anyway, you may give an Orthodox church a try some Sunday.
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