Sermon Illustrations

A 2003 study from the Barna Research Group shows that many of our country’s moral and spiritual challenges are directly related to the absence of a biblical worldview among Americans.

Barna’s study of 2,033 adults showed that only 4 percent have a biblical worldview as the basis of their decision-making.

In order to be disciples of Jesus, to live as Jesus lived and do what Jesus did, we need to know about Jesus. Although nearly all Americans have multiple copies of the Bible, most of us don’t read it. Barna’s research shows that most Americans don’t know how to integrate core biblical principles into their daily lives.

His research indicates that only 9 percent of born-again Christians have a biblical worldview. They defined a biblical worldview as a belief that:

• absolute moral truths exist and are defined by the Bible,

• that Jesus Christ lived a life without sin,

• that God is the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe that he still rules today,

• that salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned,

• that Satan is real,

• that Christians have a responsibility to share their faith in Jesus with other people,

• and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

That 9 percent figure for born-again Christians was the good news. Protestants from mainline denominations came in at 2 percent, and Catholics were less than half of 1 percent.

Protestants from non-denominational churches were the highest at 13 percent.

Our worldview impacts our behavior. When Barna compared the perspectives of those who have a biblical worldview with those who don’t, he found that those with a biblical worldview were:

• 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation (2% vs. 62%)

• 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness (2% vs. 36%)

• 15 times less likely to condone gay sex (2% vs. 31%)

• 12 times less likely to accept profanity 3% vs. 37%)

• 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable (4% vs. 44%)

• 78 times less likely to describe pornography as morally acceptable (.5% vs. 39%)

• 12 times less likely to have cheated on their spouses in the past month (<1% vs. 12.5%)

It’s not totally their fault, however. Clergy can claim a lot of the credit, or discredit. Barna reports that only half of our Protestant pastors (51%) have a biblical worldview. In some denominations, the vast majority of clergy do not have a biblical worldview.

Hal Lindsay reports that one of the first exposés of the beliefs of our nation’s clergy was made by Redbook magazine in August 1961. The publishers surveyed our seminaries preparing people for Christian service in the Protestant churches. Of the seminarians that they surveyed, 56 percent rejected the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, 71 percent rejected that there was life after death, 54 percent rejected the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and 98 percent rejected that Jesus would personally return to earth.