The following, is by our own Lee Pierce. What an eye-opener! -anita
I’ve been reading the results of a study/survey done by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research concerning the beliefs held by American evangelicals. The survey polled some 3,000 American, self-professing evangelicals; it was given first in 2014 and again this current year to try and ascertain any trends which might be present. The results are mind-boggling, to say the least.
Significant portions of the believing populace hold positions which I never could have anticipated. For example, one of the survey statements was: “By the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven.” The study found that 36% of self-proclaimed evangelicals agree or somewhat agree with this statement! We’re back to works here. As we’re at the point of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it might be important to note that two of the important tenets of reformation thought regarding salvation are Sola Gratia (by grace alone) and Sola Fide (by faith alone). There’s no provision in the Bible for working our way into heaven.
A survey question related closely to the one above was this: “An individual must contribute his or her own effort for personal salvation.” In response, 76% of the group studied either strongly agreed (48%) or somewhat agreed (28%). As I thought about this response, my heart was filled with wondering. Did the responders fully understand this statement? Maybe they had in mind some of the passages in James, such as 1:12 where that author pronounces blessing on those who persevere under trial. Maybe that is what many of the responders had in mind…I dearly hope so.
Another disappointing statistic concerned this survey statement: “Modern science discredits the claims of Christianity.” According to the survey results, 43% of people who agree that God is the author of the Bible also agree that science refutes the claims of the Bible! One wonders what their view of God and His infallibility might be? This sounds highly contradictory.
It appears that some of the basic, foundational beliefs held by the church for so many centuries are being eroded, even within the church body.
You can visit the web site at http://www.thestateoftheology.com and can see more of the results for yourself. Clearly, the church has a lot of work to do in our society!