Barna: ‘Hodge podge’ of beliefs among born-agains
A recent survey by the American Culture & Faith Institute finds that only 30 percent of born-again adults have a biblical worldview. According to that survey, almost 90 percent of them describe God as the “all-knowing, all-powerful creator and ruler of the universe” – but only one in four believes “as sinners, people are not basically good.” Sixty-three percent believe someone can earn their own way to heaven. (See other findings in table below)
As Barna summarizes the findings: “The born-again population maintains a combination of biblically accurate and indefensible beliefs” – and based on previous research, he says that “hodge podge of beliefs” isn’t unexpected.
Christian apologist and educator Dr. Alex McFarland tells OneNewsNow that he sees similar trends in the believers he speaks with.
“Even people within the church who might have some biblical beliefs about Jesus, beneath the surface you find that they’re almost Universalists – believing that all people go to heaven,” he cites.
According to the Barna survey, only 40 percent of born-again believers think success is defined by obedience and commitment to Christ. The implication, says McFarland, is that the world’s definition of success is dominant among Christ-followers.
“Christ didn’t die on the cross and rise again to make us successful as we in the 21st century might define it in the West,” he states. “Christ didn’t die to make us rich, but righteous.”
He says the church needs a dose of frank preaching and biblical teaching. “Before you can get someone saved, sometimes you have to get them lost, in that you have to help people understand that they are a sinner in need of a Savior,” he explains.
The most troubling thing to McFarland – who speaks on college campuses across America – is that parents with these mistaken spiritual ideas are teaching a flawed Christian faith to their children. The result?
“Incrementally, slowly, the culture shifts more and more away from truth and away from godliness,” he laments.
That statement is consistent with a recent nationwide survey showing that over the past three decades the number of first-year college students in the U.S. who have left their faith has skyrocketed.