In the findings of the annual American Worldview Inventory Survey, just 6% (15 million) of the estimated 176 million American adults identifying as Christians actually hold a biblical worldview. These are believers who “demonstrated ability to assimilate their beliefs into their lifestyle.” This group comes “closest to reflecting biblical principles into their opinions, beliefs, behaviors, and preferences. A person in this group was classified as an “Integrated Disciple” (ID).
The survey noted difficulties determining how many Christians are in America, since the number varies widely depending on the definition used. Those who simply said they were Christians (69%) were broken down further to include: born-again (35%), evangelical (28%), and theological born-again Christians (28%). A much smaller group were those identified as “Integrated Disciples.” Those who are seen as “theologically born-again” were more closely aligned with the “IDs.” But only Christians identified as “IDs” were classified in the study as having a biblical worldview.
I was surprised at the large number of IDs whose beliefs challenged biblical principles: “25% say there is no absolute moral truth, 39% contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity, 42% believed that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue, and 52% argue that people are basically good.”
George Barna, the lead researcher at the Cultural Research Center, commented on the survey: “‘Christian’ has become somewhat of a generic term rather than a name that reflects a deep commitment to passionately pursuing and being like Jesus Christ.” Barna warned about interpreting data related to Christians: “Political polling, in particular, may mislead people regarding the views and preferences of genuine Christ-followers simply based on how those surveys measure the Christian population.”
The survey ends with this summary: “It’s one thing to call yourself a fan of a sports team or a devotee of a particular brand. It’s something else altogether to call yourself by the name of the savior of humankind… He (Jesus) noted that a person would be his disciple if they obey His teaching (John 8:31). It follows, then, that when a person takes on the name “Christian” it refers to one who is striving to know and follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.”
This report should warn men of the divergence of belief among those who call themselves Christians in America. It makes for significant confusion in a culture that has already rejected a Christian worldview. There is a lack of belief in basic Christian doctrine. When 25% of IDs believe there is no absolute moral truth and 39% “contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity,” the body of Christ is compromised.
Men, I pray you are “Integrated Disciples.” We must be vigilant in building our faith on the solid foundation of Jesus (Matt. 7:24). It is sobering to hear Jesus warn of the last days, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:12-13).
Most of all, I want to reassure every man reading this blog that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Spirit is a person – not an influence or idea. We confess in the Nicene Creed, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.” My advice: seek and welcome the Holy Spirit.