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Conforming to Culture or Being the Church

January 8, 2010

I have been reading The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World by Ronald J. Sider. The book raises a lot of questions and struggle through the differences between conforming to culture and living with a Biblical worldview.  For those who have a strong faith that they are seeking to live out it is a challenging book with lots to think about, but for someone who believes in relativism rather than absolute truth it might be an upsetting take on the state of the church.

Here are a few statistics from the book:

  • Only 14% of born-again adults “rely on the Bible as their moral compass and believe that moral truth is absolute”
  • 3% of wives in egalitarian (equal) marriage had been beaten by their husbands, 10.7% of wives in traditional marriages (where the husband is dominant)  had been beaten – a more than 300% percent higher rate
  • Only 9% of born-again adults and 2% of born-again teenagers have a biblical worldview
  • Most evangelicals do not even define the gospel the way Jesus did
  • 25% of evangelicals and 25% of the general population have gone through divorce (in parts of the Bible Belt the divorce rate is 50% above the national average)
  • Only 6% of born-again adults tithe (a 50% decline from 2000-2002)
  • 88% of those who signed a pledge to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse did not uphold their pledge
  • 11% of Catholics and nonevangelical Christians, 16% of mainline Protestants, 17% of Baptists and evangelicals, and 20% of Southern Baptists would object to having a black neighbor (What about Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Slavic, Scandinavian, Pacific Islander, etc. ?)

According to a 1999 national survey by George Barna’s organization anywhere from 35-43% of the total U.S. population would state they have made a personal commitment to Christ that is important in their life today and they believe they will go to heaven. However only 7-8% have what the book would classify as a biblical worldview. In my city I have heard it is as low as 2%.

These statistics make my heart and soul hurt. The book lays out some ways our churches need to change, but most people are not in roles to make that happen as they are not church leaders. That shouldn’t discourage us from taking hold of a biblical worldview, and living our daily lives with the Bible as our moral compass. It is time to close the gap between who we are, and who God calls us to be. It is time to be a people of integrity.

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