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I’ve known for many years that the Church in America has fallen to the lowest spiritual state of its entire existence. I’ve tried to warn Christians in both this column and my public speaking to the dismal state of today’s churches. Faithful readers are very much aware of those warnings.
But now, studied research confirms all I have warned about over the past several decades, and it’s actually worse than I thought: The American Church is not just derelict; it is apostate.
Researcher George Barna and the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University have released Barna’s latest survey, and the findings are horrific.
According to Barna’s research,
Today, 176 million Americans claim to be Christians—69% of the population. Yet, only 6% of U.S. adults—which is 9% of those identifying as Christians—possess a biblical worldview, believing the Bible to be accurate and reliable, among other convictions.
“Two out of three Americans think of themselves as a Christian, and a majority still think that Christianity is kind of about the Bible,” Barna said in an interview at the time. “But there’s a big gap between what (self-identified Christians) believe the Bible may teach, and what the Bible actually teaches.”
The CRC study, which included 2,000 adults, classifies American believers on a spectrum of five sub-groups, from those who only self-identify as Christians to those who are termed “integrated disciples” and possess a biblical worldview. On the surface, they may all appear Christian, but the survey reveals stark differences in their core beliefs.
Large majorities of self-identified Christians also report many beliefs “not in harmony with biblical teaching,” according to the survey. These include:
72% argue that people are basically good
66% say that ‘having faith’ matters more than which faith you pursue
64% say that all religious faiths are of equal value
58% believe that if a person is good enough, or does enough good things, they can earn their way into Heaven
57% believe in karma
“There is a remarkable level of self-deception (even among) born-again Christians,” said Barna, commenting on his recent worldview research. “It represents a huge educational challenge for those responsible for biblical worldview development.”
“Too often . . . people who want a certain reputation or image embrace the label ‘Christian,’ regardless of their spiritual life and intentions,” states Barna. “‘Christian’ has become somewhat of a generic term rather than a name that reflects a deep commitment to passionately pursuing and being like Jesus Christ,” he states.
Resonant with his decades of research work, George Barna’s latest survey seeks to arouse urgency among evangelical parents and pastors regarding the necessity of teaching sound doctrine to the next generation.
I urge readers to watch my message from last Sunday, as I deal with the significance of Barna’s research at some length.
To bring Barna’s research into focus:
Of the 176 million Americans who claim to be Christians, only 9% of them believe the Bible to be the true Word of God and thus might genuinely be saved. (“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17) That means the number of truly born-again Christians in America is probably no more than 15 million. This also means that probably less than 10% of the professing Christians attending America’s churches are truly saved.
But the real number of truly saved people in this country might actually be even smaller than that.
Barna’s 9% number of Christians possessing a Biblical worldview includes 33% who believe in the Buddhism/Hinduism doctrine of “karma,” which is just another form of works salvation. Plus, 52% believe that man is basically good, which is a blatant rejection of Biblical truth that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18) and “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:12)
To reject the spiritual depravity of man is to replace the imputed righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ with human self-righteousness, which, of course, provides no righteousness or redemption at all.
That means the real number of truly saved adults in this country could be somewhere between 7 and 11 million. This is out of a total population of 258 million adults.
This highlights the words of Christ: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)
So, when we complain about the churches’ lack of spiritual courage and conviction, we must remember that over 90% of the members of these churches are not even born-again Christians—which brings MUCH into focus.
Barna is also astute in highlighting the reason for this massive Christian apostasy: The pulpits are not teaching sound doctrine.
Quoting again from the report:
Resonant with his decades of research work, George Barna’s latest survey seeks to arouse urgency among evangelical . . . pastors regarding the necessity of teaching sound doctrine to the next generation.
There it is: By and large, America’s pastors are not teaching their people sound doctrine. Hence, the blame for this massive apostasy in the U.S. can be laid squarely at the pulpits of America’s churches.
One would think that the stark reality of the above report would cause America’s pastors to reevaluate their emphasis on “church growth,” motivational speaking, turning their churches into glorified social clubs, avoiding hard sermons, being “yes-men” for civil government and on their unscriptural infatuation with Christian Zionism.
It should; but it won’t.
God has written “Ichabod” over the churches of America.
Be sure the church you attend is not one of them.
P.S. Speaking of Christian apostasy, on Sunday, March 6, I will deliver the fourth message in my Prophecy Series. And the title of that message will be Antichrist, Antichrists, The Man Of Sin And The Falling Away.
I invite you to tune in on March 6 for this very relevant message. And please start telling your friends about it.
And be sure to watch the last prophecy message I preached.
That message is available online and is called God’s Chosen People, The Children Of Promise, The Israel Of God And Romans Chapter Eleven.
P.P.S. Several people have requested that we offer our messages as a digital download. To begin accommodating this request, we are now offering a digital download of all 31 messages contained in the 3 Israel Packages.
This is an MP4 digital download only.
To order the MP4 digital download of all 31 messages contained in all 3 sets of the Israel Packages, go here.
© Chuck Baldwin
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