Why Johnny Can’t Believe

Did you know that Jesus Christ committed sins—just like all the rest of us? Of course, Jesus did no such thing. But almost half of all Americans think He did— even Bible-believing Christians. At least, that's what they told Christian pollster George Barna. Barna recently surveyed the religious beliefs of Americans. He discovered that many of us are wallowing in theological illiteracy. For example, when people were asked to define who God is, nearly one-third agreed with statements like "everyone is God," and "God represents a state of higher consciousness that everyone may reach." What people believe about Jesus Christ is, if anything, even more bizarre. Forty percent of Americans believe that Jesus made mistakes and even committed sins. Even worse, one out of four believers think that Jesus sinned. Now, this is no minor point. After all, if Jesus sinned Himself, then he could not be the sinners' Savior who died for our sins. But it turns out that most Americans don't worry about salvation, either. Nearly half of all Americans agreed with the statement, "All people will experience the same outcome after death, regardless of their religious beliefs." Only 39 percent believe Jesus is the only means of salvation. And more than half believe they can earn their way into heaven by good works. No wonder the church is making little difference in American life. It's enough to drive a Sunday school teacher to distraction. When even born-again believers don't know what they believe, it's a sign the churches aren't doing their job teaching their members biblical doctrine. Many of them have thrown themselves into teaching classes on practical issues, such as how to achieve better marriages. They tell people how to pray their way to financial success and how to cope with life's stresses. Well, as useful as some of these programs may be, Barna's survey shows what happens when churches shortchange the basics. Their members will absorb a pseudo-doctrine from the culture instead. And what is our postmodern culture teaching them? That there are no absolutes, and no objective truth. That there is no such thing as one God, and only one route to Him. Barna's poll proves that if Christians aren't dressed in the full armor of biblical truth, they're vulnerable to being suckered in by the false ideologies and neo-pagan religions that abound in America today. You and I need to demand that our own churches teach solid doctrine in their Sunday school classes. And Christian parents have a special duty to make sure their own children don't grow up "doctrinally-challenged" as today's politically correct language would put it. The book of Deuteronomy tells us that God admonished Israelite parents to teach His words to their children when they rose up and when they lay down, when they sat at home and when they walked along the road. Today's parent would do well to update that command—to teach their children about the true nature of God and Christ as they carpool to school, walk home from soccer practice, and run errands at the local shopping mall. If we don't want our children and our neighbors believing that Jesus committed sins and that God Himself is nothing more than our own higher consciousness, we need to teach the truth—shame on us if we do not.  


Chuck Colson


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