Summary: This is the second in a two-part series on what God’s plan is for us while we wait for Christ’s return.
I think I’ve told you this before, but a pastor asked a class of Sunday School children, "Who broke down the wall of Jericho?" A boy answered, "Not me, sir!" The pastor was noticeably upset and turned to the Sunday School teacher, "Is this typical?" She replied, "Pastor, the boy is a trusted and honest child, and I really don’t think he did it." Such a response sent the pastor straight to the Sunday School superintendent. After hearing the pastor’s grievance, the superintendent consoled him by saying, "I’ve known the boy and his Sunday School teacher for a number of years and just can’t picture either one of them doing such a terrible thing." In disbelief, the pastor sought out the Chairman of the Deacons. The wise deacon tried to smooth the waters with some of his conventional wisdom, "Pastor, let’s not make a big issue of this. Let’s just pay for the damages and charge it to our maintenance account."
There is a disturbing trend that has entered the world of “Christendom”, and that is a lack of concern and conviction about what “Christians” say they believe. Let me repeat it: there is a lack of concern and conviction about what “Christians” say they believe.
Now when I say a lack of concern about what “Christians” say they believe, a vast majority of Christians do not read their Bibles. Let me give you some startling statistics.
A 1996 survey indicates that the average American owns, respects and swears allegiance to the Bible -- but just doesn’t read it.
In the survey, conducted by The Barna Group, 80 percent of respondents said they consider the Bible to be the most influential book in human history. More than 90 percent of households surveyed own a Bible, and three out of four own more than one.
But 19 percent of those surveyed said they never read it, and 26 percent said they rarely read it.
Here are some more statistics from George Barna’s website:
· 12% of adults believe that the name of Noah’s wife was Joan of Arc. (The Bible does not provide her name.) (1997)
· One out of six people (16%) believe that one of the books in the New Testament is the Book of Thomas, written by the apostle Thomas. Another one-third of the population are not sure whether or not there is such a book in the New testament of the Bible. (1994)
· Half of all adults (49%) believe that the Bible teaches that money is the root of all evil. One-third (37%) disagree with this contention. The actual teaching indicates that it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. (1994)
· A majority of adults (56%) are convinced the Bible proclaims that the single, most important task in life is taking care of one’s family. (1997)
· Three-quarters of Americans (75%) believe that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. (2000)
Get the idea that some people don’t know what the Bible speaks about? While the statistics are better for Christians as far as reading their Bible, they don’t fare too much better in Bible knowledge.
And while that is of some concern to me (and it should be to you as well), there is something even more startling. There is a lack of concern about what the Bible talks about.
According to the most recent statistics acquired by George Barna, he found an alarming trend within evangelical churches today and their worldview. Defining such a worldview as believing that absolute moral truth exists, that it is based upon the Bible, and having a biblical view on six core beliefs (the accuracy of biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone, and the personal responsibility to evangelize)—these are all things we at Berean believe, or at least say we do. Based on interviews with 601 Senior Pastors nationwide, representing a random cross-section of Protestant churches, Barna reports that only half of the country’s Protestant pastors – 51% - have a biblical worldview.
That means one out of every two evangelical churches that you would visit would have a pastor that really believes the Bible for all its worth. 51%. 1 out of 2! Here’s the more disturbing statistic. Only 9% of all born again adults and just 7% of Protestants possess a biblical worldview.
That’s less than 1 out of 10. That is an indictment on the church today, that not only is half of our churches filled with pastors who believe the Bible, but only 1 out of 10 in the pews really believe the Bible. Here’s how it broke down by denomination: The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches (13%), Pentecostal churches (10%) and Baptist churches (8%).