What is a biblical worldview? Barna defines it as believing that:
- absolute moral truth exists
- the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches
- Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic
- a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or doing good works
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
- and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today
Surveying Americans on their adherence to these basic, core, Christian doctrines and beliefs is a valuable tool in discovering where the real core of the American Church. I think it trumps church attendance stats and religious affiliation stats because it actually probes a person's owned convictions and faith outlook.
So what did Barna discover when using the biblical worldview standard in their most recent surveys?
- Currently, 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview
- Among born again Christians, 19% express a biblical worldview [the most troubling survey result to this observer]
- The numbers show that 7% had such a worldview in 1995, compared to 10% in 2000, 11% in 2005, and 9% now. So essentially, the numbers are relatively flat--not strongly declining or increasing.
- Young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview: less than .5% of adults age 18 to 23 have a biblical worldview. Obviously that doesn't mean they can't change their views later in life but as young adults, they are almost universally rejecting a biblical worldview.
- A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. This is only one element of a biblical worldview but says much about the foundation of the faith.
To me this is like a seismic reading on culture and life. It tells us an aspect of how the next wave of culture will be shaped. The fact that less than .5% of young adults hold a biblical worldview ought to be like a ice-bath wake up call. The church is NOT reaching this generation or stated alternatively, this generation is NOT responding to the Gospel of Jesus.
Now I want to have a more hopeful outlook but hope is birthed in part out of realistically appraising the present. Without accepting the reality of the present, hope is replaced with wishful thinking. This generation is in ICU-critical-condition need of real, living, authentic followers of Jesus who have a reasoned faith, a life that agrees with that faith and loving compassion for people who don't share their faith.
Simply put, this generation needs followers of Jesus who flow in faith, hope and love.