Fact Check Your Pastor

Ryk, a friend of mine, did a survey about Christianity and shared his findings. The results parallel other surveys’ findings, and it’s depressing. Christians are ignorant of the Gospel. 

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.”

Acts 17:11

It would be easy to blame the pastors. But if you did that, you’d be wrong. I want to point to a Gallup survey.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx

In 1983, 71% of adults went to church, mosque, or synagogue when I was born. Though at times my parents lived like Hell the other six days, they were at church or made sure I was. 

In 2000, the bottom started to fall out. Before the pandemic in 2019, it was only 47% across three religions. Imagine what the numbers are now. If you come once a month, you’re considered a regular attendee. 

The survey ties it to “the rise of the nones.” History shows Christianity rising, peaking, and declining as the Holy Spirit moves worldwide. 

LifeWay research found that only 45% of regular church attendees crack open the Bible more than once a week. 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/bible-engagement/epidemic-of-bible-illiteracy-in-our-churches.html

The Creator has a message for you, and you’re not picking up the phone. 9 out of 10 American homes have at least one Bible in them. 

What’s the big deal?

If you’re going to claim a worldview, you at least have to get the basics right. Ligonier Ministries does a State of Theology survey every two years.

https://thestateoftheology.com/

Here are some of their findings.

52% of Americans say Jesus was a great teacher, but he wasn’t God. 36% disagreed. 

30% of evangelicals believe Jesus wasn’t God.

Look up C.S Lewis’ Trilemma. Who have these people put their faith in? They need lessons on the doctrine and nature of Jesus. It’s an essential part of salvation. 

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Romans 10:9-10, and 13

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

75% of Americans disagree that learning about theology is for pastors and scholars only. 85% of evangelicals think that everyone should study theology. Judging by these surveys, I wonder how many practice what they preach. 

The next finding dims the light in the tunnel a bit. 

In 2020, 48% agreed that the Bible isn’t literally true, just helpful accounts. In addition, 54% agreed that religious belief isn’t about absolute truth that same year. That’s a 6% decrease from 2018. 

These are purported Christians. 

Here’s a shocking finding in trends: fewer people agree about the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation and being saved by grace and not by works. 

There is an upward trend in recognizing people aren’t inherently good and the exclusivity of worshiping God. 

Yahweh doesn’t accept worship from other religious systems. 

Who is to blame for this doctrinal ignorance and biblical illiteracy? 

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

All involved, starting with individuals. 

Adults, you have to learn to feed yourselves. So, first, read and study the Bible, Christian books, and apologetics. Then, go to class and discuss applying it. 

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” 

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Then you have to pass it on to your kids, and that can’t be done unless you know and embody it. 

I just finished a great book that covers that, among other issues—Voddie T. Baucham Jr.’s Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes. 

He says to catechize your kids in it, which is essentially going over Q&A about theology. 

Pastors, bring back Sunday night sermons or make Sunday morning more theologically meaty. Or both, my theology nerd heart would love it. Until then, I recommend Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life podcasts for that. 

Everyone, be like the Bereans who fact-checked the Apostle Paul, and other teachers. Remember what Luke called them in Acts?

Noble. 

Become a Modern-Day Berean. 

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