New Survey Points to Confusion and Compromise in Christian Churches

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A new survey, released September 28 by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research, reveals some not so-surprising results about the state of churches in the United States. We have pointed out many times that there is a great lack of in-depth teaching, very little (if any) teaching on apologetics (how to defend the faith), and a great deal of compromise (especially compromise on Genesis 1–11) in many churches—and some of these are the churches who claim to be “evangelical.” So many people from churches in America don’t really know what they believe or why, and many don’t really understand the basics of Christianity.

Now this survey is rather expansive, so I can’t cover all of it in this blog. But I’ll list some highlights (really lowlights), which show how confusion and compromise have infiltrated the church. Most of the survey questions had five possible ways to answer (Agree strongly, Agree somewhat, Disagree somewhat, Disagree strongly, Not sure). I’ll combine the “strongly” and “somewhat” agree answers below for illustrative purposes.

The Not-So-Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

64% of Americans agree that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”

Only 52% agree that “the Bible alone is the written word of God.”

Only 58% agree that “God is the author of Scripture.”

65% agree that “everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

44% agree that “the Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.”

51% agree that “the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.”

Only 47% agree that “the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.”

59% of Americans agree that “worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.”

Only 45% agree that “churches that do not preach from the Bible should not be considered a Christian church.”

Only 49% in churches agree that “sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.”

Only 49% agree that “abortion is a sin.”

42% agree that “the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.”

38% agree that “gender identity is a matter of choice.”

45% agree that “modern science discredits the claims of Christianity.”

52% agree that “by the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven”

Only 60% agree that “Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.”

Only 52% agree that “it is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

Only 54% in churches agree that “only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”

Theology and Apologetics Are Not Being Taught in Churches

These numbers are very troubling. When 40 to 50 percent of Christians don’t believe the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches, that Christ is the only sacrifice for sin and the only means for salvation, or that they should witness to non-Christians, there is something fundamentally wrong.

Few people are taught solid, biblical theology and, as a result, biblical illiteracy is rampant throughout our country.

Sadly, our once-Christian nation has drifted far from its roots. Few people are taught solid, biblical theology and, as a result, biblical illiteracy is rampant throughout our country. The results of our survey, done by America’s Research Group and published in my coauthored book Already Gone , show that for many Christians growing up in the church this lack of teaching can have disastrous results. Additional surveys—such as the follow-up by America’s Research Group and published in my coauthored book Already Compromised—have consistently shown that many Christian colleges are compromising on biblical principles about the authority of the Bible. These colleges allegorize or explain away the historicity of Genesis, attacking the very foundation of the faith—the gospel! The pastors and church leaders coming out of these Bible colleges and seminaries are then teaching what they have learned—that the history of the Bible is not to be trusted and that man’s ideas can “reinterpret” God’s Word.

Confused About Who God Is

Also disconcerting are the confused or even contradictory answers given in this survey. While 65% of Americans agree that “God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake” and 58% agree that “God is the Author of Scripture,” only 47% agree that “the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.” How can that be? Many just don’t understand what it means that God is the infinite Creator God—infinite in wisdom and knowledge and that “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19).

Here’s another example. 69% in churches agree that “there is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit,” but 53% agree that “Jesus is the first and greatest creature created by God” and 56% agree that “the Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.” So people can believe that Jesus is God yet was created, and that the Holy Spirit is God yet is not a personal being?

The Sad Fruits of Biblical Illiteracy

This is what we see played out in this survey. God’s clear teachings on His Person and His Word are not understood because they are not clearly taught in many churches. We also see that moral and social issues like marriage, gender, sexuality, and sanctity of life have all been reinterpreted based on man’s fallible opinions and desire to accommodate sin. The exclusivity of the gospel is considered antiquated (and in many places as “intolerant”), and the Great Commission has been sacrificed to the “all-paths-lead-to-God” mentality. If all paths lead to God, then why did Christ have to come to earth and go to the Cross to die for our sins? This type of theology makes Christ’s sufferings and sacrifice pointless.

God’s Word is no longer accepted as the ultimate authority on earth’s history—man’s word is!

The false evolutionary interpretations of historical science are usurping God’s Word as the foundation of truth—and this is now an epidemic in the church. God’s Word is no longer accepted as the ultimate authority on earth’s history—man’s word is! It should come as no surprise that this compromise hasn’t stayed in Genesis but has spread to how people view the rest of the Bible. After all, if you can’t trust what God says in Genesis, then why trust what He says throughout the rest of Scripture—or for that matter, why trust God at all?

But time and time again we have shown that operational science has confirmed the Bible’s history. True science testifies of the Creator! We can trust the Bible, from the very first verse, and that’s why we can trust the theology, morality, and ultimately, the gospel message found in the Bible.

I encourage you to equip yourself, your families, and your church with answers to call the church and this culture back to the foundation of the Word of God.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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