Thursday, February 24, 2022

Barna: "Pastor's Losing Credibility"

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George Barna, the most respected research expert in the evangelical community, has found that "Fewer than half of American adults, including non-Christians, see pastors as “very reliable” when it comes to handling spiritual matters, and the share of pastors who believe the general public sees them that way is even lower. 

This while "wokeness" is knocking on the doors of our churches.

Be informed, not misled.


Fewer than half of American adults, including non-Christians, see pastors as “very reliable” when it comes to handling spiritual matters, and the share of pastors who believe the general public sees them that way is even lower, according to newly published data from Barna Research.

A new book titled, "The Resilient Pastor," written by Rev. Glenn Packiam---himself a pastor, includes some of  Barna's new survey. 

The research finds, "Pastors are no longer perceived as a credible voice or a trustworthy source of wisdom on much," Packiam explains in an excerpt of the book. "Churches don’t have much of a role in a community unless they can provide tangible help or practical care. And people aren’t likely to turn to a church for help when facing difficulties or crises. In fact, Christianity is just one way of making meaning of this world, and it isn’t really even a respected way. For many, it is archaic and outmoded, prude and rude.”

Packiam, who is a senior fellow at Barna Group, is also an associate senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the lead pastor of New Life Downtown.

The Christian Post says:

The data show that when asked if pastors are a trustworthy source of wisdom, some 57% of Americans, in general, said pastors are at least somewhat wise.

When that data is further broken down, however, only 23% of all adult Americans agree that pastors are "definitely" a "trustworthy source of wisdom." 

Among Christians, the figure increases to 31% but drops to 4% among non-Christians. Larger shares agree that pastors were “somewhat” a trustworthy source of wisdom, with 40% of Christians agreeing to this assessment.

“Non-Christians have the strongest reaction against pastors, with 29 percent saying a pastor is ‘definitely not a trustworthy source of wisdom. That may be unsurprising in our present culture, but it is still telling and discouraging.” 

While a significant majority of pastors, 67%, were very confident that their own congregations considered them to be a trustworthy source of wisdom, only 21% expressed a similar level of confidence in how the general community where their church is located sees them. Another 62% felt that the general community was only “somewhat” confident in their role as a trustworthy source of wisdom.

Now we see "wokeness" knocking on the door of the Christian churches.

For decades we have watched the liberal denominations water down, then revise, then abandon the biblical message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and embrace far-left ideologies. That's why a Sunday morning sermon at a liberal church might feature a lesbian pastor warning about climate change or praising abortion and Planned Parenthood.

An old friend of mine, Kerby Anderson, who hosts the radio program "Point of View" says "It's like a virus."

Kerby says "wokeness is no longer a foreign topic that can be dismissed as some wacky issue in a faraway church."

He says Critical Race Theory and other Marxist ideologies have now infiltrated some evangelical churches.

He's right. In 2019 it was headlined for weeks in both Christian publications and secular news when some pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention sneaked in a resolution, known as Resolution 9, which allowed Critical Race Theory to be included in teaching materials. Within the SBC some black pastors convinced some of the uninformed that CRT was actually an "analytical tool" to help the church address racism and race relations inside the walls of the church, rather than the Marxist ideology that it is.

Kirby notes that the term "systemic racism" was obscure to many in 2019, but is now understood to be a tenet of CRT since it claims American society, supposedly, was set up by whites to maintain power over minorities.

The whole idea of "woke" has actually become a religion---a theology. Anderson says it has its own eschatology. And it provides a view of sin---perpetual guilt for white people, without the possibility of redemption.

Critical Race Theory suggests that white people cannot change their racism but they can admit to it and promise to address it. 

In addressing it, the person becomes "woke." They learn new words, phrases, and definitions, without any possibility of forgiveness, grace, or restoration.


It takes considerable boldness to speak the truth to the culture in today's world. It's easier and safer to be silent.

Over the last few decades, Americans have witnessed the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God's Word in most of the public arena, horrific racism, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against America, and the pulpit is partially responsible—our silence speaks volumes. The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people, which affects the nation. 

Pastor Jim Garlow, a well-known pastor and leader in the conservative movement, said recently to a group of pastors,  "There are approximately 364,000 churches in America: 72% or 264,000 of them are liberal, meaning that they really don't care about the Bible."

He continued, "According to exhaustive surveys, somewhere between 6000 and 15,000, actually have a bona fide biblical world view, that is, they see life through the lens of Scripture."

Garlow also said, "Bold pastors are nearly extinct. It's easier 'to play church' and make everyone feel good. The church as we now know it will be functionally illegal."

He thinks the next steps are to silence the churches that speak out about sin and redemption ---particularly the sin of homosexuality.

The Bible calls pastors "watchmen" who cry out and sound the alarm to awaken a sleeping world, not sing lullabies.

Isaiah the prophet spoke to the watchmen of his day and told them (Is.56:9) they were blind and ignorant loving to slumber.

I often quote the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville who authored "Democracy In America" in the early 1800s.

After traveling across America he wrote, "It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

Many in our country have lost their compass of truth. But there's hope.

"Therefore say unto them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return unto thee" (Zechariah 1:3).

Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Discerning.  Be Engaged. Be Bold.