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The Latest from Barna -- No Surprises


Here's the latest from Barna, and will probably not come as a major surprise:  Click here: Welcome to The Barna Group!

"Most Americans still embrace a traditional view of God, but they are less likely than ever to do so. Currently two-thirds of Americans believe that God is best described as the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today (66%). However, this proportion is lower than it was a year ago (71%) and represents the lowest percentage in more than twenty years of similar surveys.

Few adults possess orthodox views about Jesus and the Devil. Currently, just one-third of Americans strongly disagree that Jesus sinned (37%) and just one-quarter strongly reject the idea that Satan is not a real spiritual being (24%). Each of these beliefs is lower than last year and among the lowest points in nearly two decades of tracking these views.

The other changes in beliefs include greater reluctance to explain their faith to other people (just 29% strongly endorse this view, compared with 39% in 2006) and the willingness to reject good works as a means to personal salvation (down to 27% from 31%)."

Reader Comments (7)

For some reason, I am not suprised...
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeff de Ruyter
Where did that saying come from, 'The worlds going to hell in a hand basket'?
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterplw
Where did these survey's take place? I am suppprised that people don't think that we need to share our faith.
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commentertiminator
Not surprised at all! It should be remembered that much of what passes for "evangelicalism" these days is a cobination of Anabaptism and Pelagian work-righteousness!
May 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercharlie
I am not surprised at the fact that orthodox theology is declining, but I am surprised at how much it has declined in just a year. Does anyone else think those numbers fell a lot in such a short time?
May 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
Why should we be surprised. Barna's own views of orthodoxy are dubious. Perhaps is it time that someone takes a stand publicly and denounces the unothodoxy held by the media's answer boys in the evangelical camp.

But, who will stand? Everytime the media reports on Christianity it taps into the "pop" figures. Where are the reponders that can answer clearly and difinitively for the Scripture. What we get are the Dobsons, the Lands on the social conservative edge and a host of liberal's. But neither represents orthodox historic protestantism. When was the last time anyone heard a responder to the media explain the depravity of man, and not just in terms of the vaguery of the rubric, "sin," but really took society and the individual to the Word about man's hopeless condition. We have been given the opportunities. But, people like Falwell blew it. His response to societies plight should have been that he was responsible for it, his sin, as well as the sins of all. Instead what proceeded out of his mouth was a works righteousness. Where were those voices that could have set the record straight and offered law and Gospel? Why does it appear that the Reformation is dead? At least, as far as the media is concerned, the only thing we hear is a Romanist version of the condition of mankind, and its answer for the resolution of man's woes. When will someone get up and say that there is nothing that man, or man as a collective in society can do to correct the problem? At least then we would have a foundation from which we could build an informed view of Scripture.

These results do not surprise me, I am SBC. When I look around the SBC I see these kinds of results everywhere. The understanding of the layman is deplorable, and the deepth of the understanding of most of the leadership is shallow. Or, it appears to be. What can I do when my pastor does not believe in the impeccability of Christ? What do I do when he hides the history of the church from the eyes of his congregation so as to remove controversy? What do I do when he believes God virtue is born out of his actions? What can I do when the leadership of the SBC believes that God created man in his image able to choose sin? What do I do when my brethren claim that Eve was created with an tendency to sin in her, as was taught by Herschel Hobbs? Vacuity of orthodoxy, is an old problem. I would imagine that if we went back a hundred years, the polls would not reflect any difference. It would depend on how Barna constructed the questions. He can get his results based on his belief system, but he would get the same result at the turn of the century if he was to ask more pointed questions from a Reformed perspective.

If one of the largest protestant denominations, the SBC, supposedly conservative, whose majority has no clue as to what constitutes orthodox protestantism, how can we possibly expect a marginally Christian nation to know?

But, who will tell the media that most of those claiming to be Christian, including Barna, are not, at least in their understanding of it? Who will stand up and tell the media that people like Billy Graham do not represent Christianity. Who will tell them of his blasphemous, heretical views? It is one thing to challenge Mitt Romney's religion, easy to attack a known cult. But, who will stand and challenge the outrageous claims made by so called "mainstream" Christians like Falwell, Jakes, or Warren? Who will say that the Arminian god is only by expression different than the god expressed by the open theology of the Mormon? Why is there such reticence? Why won't those who know speak out against the what is called mainstream evangelicalism?

We might want to blaim those who answer these polls, but it is not they who are the teachers. They only follow the voices they hear. Is it true, that if the instrument makes an unclear sound, who then will be alerted to battle? The reason that there is confusion is the problem of the shephards, not the flock. Sheep eat where the shephard's lead. And, if there are false shephard's and another knows and does nothing, then he will be held accountable for the deaths of the sheep who eat poisoned grass. So don't blame the sheep. The shephards are at fault. Let them speak as oracles of the Lord or let them be silenced. So, I will ask once again. Who will stand and condemn the false teachers? Publicly? The inhouse debates will be exposed eventually, what ever is done in darkness will be made manifest by the light. It cannot be kept behind closed doors, forever. Eventually, someone will have to nail their thesis on the doors of the media. Why wait until you are put on the defensive?

The current milieu is simply the result of no one standing for the truth, publicly. If you caught Land's remarks you understand why. The compromise for politcal gain becomes all to obvious, and all too disgusting. The confussion is spread not because of the Lands, however. It is spread because of people who could, and should publicly undress him as a shamman, not a minister of the Gospel, but do not.

Then also, if you depend on Barna's polls without taking him to task for his unorthodox views, then it really does not matter. We can thank those like Falwell, and Barna, and any others, who keep the issues hot. What we should not do is, because of that respect for their positive work, disrespect them by not exposing the negative impact that they have had on the Gospel.
May 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Twitchell
"hell in a hand basket"? seems to me good amil eschatology promotes something much different from such a similtaneously cynical and optimistic view; such sentiments seem to view history as going from bad to worse, which means we were once in good shape (optimistic view of man in hindsight). and the cynicism seems to speak for itself, but i usually sense from such views an idea that we ought not be polishing the brass.

does anyone doubt that such stats could have been written centuries ago?

btw, i am hesitant to say that a greater reluctance to share with others should be read as a bad thing. the case could be made that the true confessional faith actually engenders a quieter faith, one that comports with an ethic of self-control and nurture over self-expression and sales. faithful evangelism seems quite different from wearing it on one's sleeve.

May 24, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim

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