Sixty-five percent of Mosaics and Busters in America (ages 18-41) “have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important.” Twenty-nine percent of that group is “absolutely committed to the Christian faith.” Three-percent of that same group have a Christian worldview.
Does that shock you? It shocks me—that’s my age group!
The Barna group statistics define a worldview as believing that “Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and he still rules it today,” salvation is a free gift of God, Satan is real, Christians should witness, the Bible is accurate and the source of moral, absolute truth (unChristian, p.75).
What does this mean for the faith, the family and the future?
First of all, it means the objective content (faith) of Evangelicals is rapidly disappearing. Without the Biblical worldview as the guiding principle of millions of Christian’s lives, wrong decisions and actions will increase; holiness will decrease. Churches will become businesses and entertainment centers. Truth will die by a thousand qualifications. And more importantly, we will shame Christ.
Second, the Christian family will crumble. Religious speak will still exist, but it will be hollow and mechanical. Families may act Christian but believe falsehood. Parents will live and act in ignorance of Biblical truth. Children will be swallowed whole by cults and outright unbelief. Generations will be lost.
Third, (and I speak as a man) the future will be lost—the future of America at any rate. We are even now seeing that loss. As the culture goes so goes the nation; and as the churches go so goes the culture. Culture is religion externalized.
“Why did this happen? What can I do?” you may ask.
Hosea 4:6 is God’s warning to those who know Him but do not know Him: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…”
Strong but true words. American churches and families must take it to heart. It is certainly not the case that conservative Christians as a whole are purposefully trying to avoid more knowledge of God and His Word. It certainly is not that. Yet the statistics (from the last ten years at least) point to increased deviation from the Bible in principle and practice. Something is amiss.
Unfortunately, this is not all. Barna’s poll of born-again Christians shows that almost forty-percent believe “if a person is good enough” they can be saved. 57% of Evangelicals allow for other ways to heaven than solely through Christ (2008 Pew study). Even learning a “worldview” is for naught if the Gospel is missing from its foundation.
The Barna study should be a wake-up call. But it will not be a wake up call if no one takes it to heart. I take it to heart. It grieves me. Does it grieve you?
Although increasing in understanding and wisdom does not automatically bring salvation or even sanctification, it is certainly fundamental. Without proper knowledge there is no growth. How can the spiritual tree of your life increase in Christ if you don’t know the difference between rotten and healthy fruit?
Perhaps you have heard this all before. Do you believe it? In which case, continue the struggle, pray for a revival and continue to help your family and support faithful churches. Do you still doubt? Reread those statistics. Either way, take Hosea 4:6 to heart. Re-examine your beliefs in detail:
1. Who is God? Is He omnipotent, omniscient? So what?
2. What is sin? How extensive is sin? How does this impact my family?
3. Who is Christ? Was He sinless? Why is this important?
4. How are we saved? By works? What is faith alone? So what?
This is just the tip of the iceberg: for to simply define terms is not enough, we must know how they relate to other truths and why they are important in the Christian life. The admonition in Hosea is not to only have intellectual knowledge of God (is God really satisfied with that?)—no, Hosea wants us to know the what as well as the how and why.
Do you want to be the generation that was destroyed for a lack of knowledge? Do you want our churches to be bastions of Biblical truth, seminaries of in-depth learning that challenge your preconceptions? Or do we want to remain spiritual children feeding on milk instead of feeding upon solid food? (Heb. 5:12ff.)
The Reformation of Luther, Knox and Calvin began as a return to the Word of God, specifically the Gospel—both the knowledge and use of it. The First & Second Awakenings followed the exact same path. That means you have to get your hands dirty and dig into the rich soil of the Bible—learning theology, doctrine and terminology. Difficulties and differences will arise (there is no growth without spirit-wrought effort and conflict), but the rewards will be rich.
To change the fate of the faith and family in America, we must awake from our collective slumber, leave our old ways and turn to Christ, learn from godly ministers (even of old), train our children and desire the sincere meat of the Word--nothing less than an entire generation is at risk. Can you do less?