[Jesus said to them,] “Your problem is that you don’t know the Scriptures.
(Matthew 22:29, nlt)
Several years ago, the George Barna Group asked basic doctrinal questions to over 6000 adults representing all major church denominations. What Barna discovered will shock you:
• Only 41% believed in the total accuracy of the Bible.
• Only 40% believed Christ was sinless.
• Only 27% believed Satan to be real.
So, how about those polled who classified themselves as “Southern Baptists”? After all, we proudly call ourselves “People of the Book.”
• 57% believed works play a part in salvation.
• 34% thought Satan was a real being.
• 66% believed the Bible to be totally accurate.
When I first read this article I was shocked. I can understand a believer not understanding all there is to know regarding “Christ’s second coming,” “what heaven and hell are really like,” and “the Trinity.” But…that Christ was sinless?!?….that Satan exists?!?
Southern Seminary president, Dr. Albert Mohler, said, “The [statistics] are a striking indictment of the loss of doctrinal confidence and erosion of biblical beliefs…” He goes on to state, “Christianity is defined by certain definite and non-negotiable doctrines. Without these, there is no Christianity at all.”
Barna commented, “The Christian Body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy. How else can you describe [it] when most churchgoing adults reject the accuracy of the Bible, reject the existence of Satan, claim that Jesus sinned, and believed that good works are essential for salvation?”
David wrote in the Psalms, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart…” It appears God’s Word is still being hidden by believers – hidden so well that we don’t even know where we put it!
How well do you know your Bible? Given the plethora of Study Bibles, commentaries, and “how to read your Bible” resources readily available, our society is without excuse when it comes to biblical literacy. We know song lyrics, political poll results, e-mail addresses, web sites, the latest gossip, recipes, MLB batting averages, NASCAR standings, and NFL Draft predictions – but when it comes to “certain definite and non-negotiable [biblical] doctrines”, well…it’s no wonder Christianity isn’t making a bigger impact in our nation.
Not everyone can attend a Bible College or Seminary to pursue a degree in theology. However, “I don’t have a theology degree” won’t hold up in God’s courtroom, nor will it garner us any respect – or Holy Spirit power – when we can’t, to our family & friends, site from Scripture what we believe, and why.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick