When Christians see alarming numbers of Americans openly — even enthusiastically — embracing completely anti-biblical teachings such as abortion, homosexual behavior, and evolution, they wonder how our culture (and the church) has gotten so far from its biblical foundation. Well, the results of a recent survey from Ligonier Ministries suggest that current trends in thinking shouldn’t really surprise us based on popular American theology.
This survey sampled 3,000 Americans from across the country, from many different backgrounds, in an attempt “to take the temperature of America’s theological health, compare it to that of self-identiﬁed Christians, and index it over time in order to better equip the church to faithfully preach and teach the whole counsel of God.”
According to the survey, the majority of Americans (53%) don’t believe that heaven and hell are real places and almost half think that there are many different ways to heaven. Also, less than half of the participants believe that God authored the Bible and over half (57%) don’t think the Bible is always accurate. Consequently, only half of Americans (49%) think the Bible has authority in our lives. Sadly, while half of the population (51%) may think that the Bible is authoritative, many of these people don’t base their thinking in all areas on God’s Word as nearly half (45%) are said to believe that the Bible was written for each person to interpret as they chose.
Sadly, our once-Christian nation has drifted far from its roots. Few people actually understand solid, biblical theology and biblical illiteracy is rampant throughout our country. The results of our survey, done by America’s Research Group, show that growing up in the church doesn’t necessarily mean that the results will be much different. Of 1,000 twenty-somethings who grew up in the church but have now left it, 37% believe the Bible has errors and 43% don’t believe all the accounts in the Bible are accurate. How people view the Bible has a direct effect on how they behave, what they believe, and what kind of theology they hold to. If the Bible is full of errors and isn’t 100% true, then why do we have to obey its doctrine? Why should we start our thinking in all areas with God’s Word?
That’s why it’s so important that we teach this next generation to stand on the authority of the Word of God in its entirety — from beginning to end! We have found that a major reason for our young people leaving is because many in the church have neglected God’s Word in Genesis. Instead of accepting what the Bible says about the history of the earth, by and large, the church has replaced God’s Word with man’s by accepting evolution and/or millions of years and so 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 cannot trust God’s Word in Genesis, then why trust what it says throughout the rest of Scripture? Genesis is foundational to the rest of Scripture. Every major doctrine of Scripture ﬁnds its basis in the history of Genesis. Why is marriage for one man and one woman? Why do we wear clothes? Why is salvation only able to come through Jesus? All of these, and many more, are based out of Genesis 1-11. The history of Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Bible.
If you compromise in Genesis, then it opens the door for more compromise throughout Scripture.
Observational science has conﬁrmed the Bible’s history over and over again. We can trust the Bible, from the very ﬁrst verse, and that’s why we can trust the morality, theology, 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 Bible.
Adapted from Ken Ham