Monday, September 05, 2022

When Pastors Reject Biblical Truth

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

French historian Alexis de Tocqueville, after spending more than a year touring America concluded in his "Democracy in America" that "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Earlier this year we learned that only 37% of Christian pastors have a biblical worldview. 

Now we're learning that "At least a third of senior pastors in the United States believe one can earn a place in Heaven by simply being a good person."

Presbyterian pastor Charles Finney claimed in his "Decay of Conscience" that if  there is a decay of conscience in the culture, the pulpit is responsible for it."

Every American societal institution is under assault. 

Is the pulpit responsible for it?

Be informed. not misled.

Rev. Charles Finney shared Tocqueville's convictions about the power of the pulpit. He told his fellow pastors:

"Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours to a great degree. If there is decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If the world loses interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.  Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren, but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of the nation."

Apparently, a stunning number of pastors are not "laying it to heart" regarding the culture, nor are they "awake" to the decay in our culture.

Are the blind leading the blind?

More than a third of senior pastors in the United States believe that one can earn a place in heaven by simply being a good person, according to a nationwide survey.

The findings were among several surprising responses as part of a survey conducted earlier this year by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.

The American Worldview Inventory 2022 examined more than three dozen beliefs held by pastors. Researchers found that in addition to believing that people can merit salvation based solely on their good works, one-third or more of senior pastors surveyed also believe the Holy Spirit is not a person but rather “a symbol of God’s power." Others said that moral truth is subjective; sexual relations between two unmarried people who love each other is “morally acceptable" and biblical teaching on abortion is “ambiguous.”

At least a third of those surveyed also said they believe “socialism is preferable to capitalism and that allowing property ownership facilitates economic injustice,” which researchers say could point to the “increase of cultural and political influence into the church.”

After data reported earlier this year found just 37% of Christian pastors have a biblical worldview, the latest CRC report analyzed that research across all major U.S. denominations, and found that a “loss of biblical belief is prevalent among pastors in all denominational groupings.”

The current report focuses on roughly half of those beliefs, revealing that a shockingly large percentage reject biblical teaching on some of the most basic Christian beliefs.

Tragically, the church's candle is under a bushel.

Among Evangelical pastors, for example, around 43% said they do not believe that personal accumulation of wealth is provided by God for the individual to manage those resources for God’s purposes.

Another 39% of Evangelical pastors surveyed said there is no absolute moral truth and that “each individual must determine their own truth.” Roughly the same percentage (38%) said human life is sacred, while 37% said having faith, in general, is more important than in what — or more specifically, Whom — one has faith.

To me, the most startling discovery from the survey was that three in 10 Evangelical pastors (30%) do not believe that their salvation is based on having confessed their sins and accepting Jesus Christ as their savior.

George Barna, CRC's director of research, said the results could be linked to another trend he observed in the data.

“While studying the spiritual behavioral patterns of pastors, it became evident that a large share of them do not have a regular spiritual routine,” Barna said. “There was a correlation between possessing biblical beliefs and a consistent regimen of Bible reading, prayer, worship, and confession.

“In some of the denominational groupings, a majority of pastors do not engage in those foundational spiritual practices on a regular basis,” he added. “Yet, among the pastors who have the most consistently biblical beliefs, there is also a daily routine that incorporates all of those disciplines.”


Tocqueville said, "Fixed ideas of God and human nature are indispensable to the daily practice of men's lives, but the practice of their lives prevents them from accepting such ideas."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.