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Year-End Spirituality Survey

December 28th, 2009
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My colleague at Concordia Publishing House, Laura Lane, shared this Barna Survey with a number of us. If you have not seen it, you may find it interesting and helpful. I would say there is nothing terribly earth-shatteringly new in it, but it is always helpful to have this kind of “take” on the situation in which we find ourselves. Here is the link to the full story, but here is an excerpt:

Some of the related survey results Barna cited from this year’s studies included:

o Just 50% of adults contend that Christianity is still the automatic faith of choice in the US

o Nearly nine out of every ten adults (88%) agreed either strongly or somewhat that their religious faith is very important in their life

o 74% said their faith is becoming more important in their life

o Substantive awareness of other faith groups is minimal; even simple name awareness of some groups, such as Wicca, is tiny (only 45% have heard of Wicca)

o Most self-identified Christians are comfortable with the idea that the Bible and the sacred books from non-Christian religions all teach the same truths and principles

o Half of all adults (50%) argue that a growing number of people they know are tired of having the same church experience

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Categories: Culture, Spirituality
  1. Ted Badje
    December 28th, 2009 at 18:21 | #1

    It seems modern America holds on to Platte River theology, a mile wide and an inch deep. There is a great need for pastors and teachers to teach the basic tenets of Christianity, let alone confessional teachings.

  2. Eric Grutz
    December 28th, 2009 at 23:53 | #2

    “Most self-identified Christians are comfortable with the idea that the Bible and the sacred books from non-Christian religions all teach the same truths and principles”

    That’s general revelation right there. God makes his moral law known to even the pagans. Don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t lie. The real danger is if the church doesn’t put Christ and the Gospel front and center for us. I’ve heard too many preaching series on “Biblical child raising” or “Having a Rock Solid Family”. If that’s what people think the church Bible is about, then there really is no difference between the Bible and other books.

  3. Ted Badje
    December 29th, 2009 at 17:43 | #3

    It’s great to listen to pastors who articulate Jesus took the punishment for our sins, and rose again in every sermon. If the Gospel is effectively preached, people want to hear it. I have heard some pastors bring in some self-help topics. Some are able to emphasize the Gospel in the sermon with great success, some it gets lost in the shuffle.

  4. Rev. Kevin Jennings
    January 2nd, 2010 at 08:23 | #4

    Hi, Paul!

    I want to read the full article later on today (hey, I need a filler Bible class!). I think your assessment is correct: no earth-shattering revelations here. But, I think it does present a window on something I saw proven the other day. My wife was accosted by a person eavesdropping on her cell conversation with someone at work. When she ended the call, she was accused of being unChristian and a hypocrite. I tire of such easy nonsense.

    Back to the problem at hand. My immediate thought was if my wife asked the person where she went to church and to define what “Christian” is. My wife did not, because she’s much nicer than I am Why would I ask such things? Because many who claim the name Christian and believe they know what “Christian” is, in truth, really have no idea about the faith handed down from the apostles. In reality, what is held is AMERICAN Christianity, which often teeters on the brink of not being Christian – downplaying the truths of the faith in favor of shock marketing and an emphasis on the good life now.

    If nothing else, Barna’s research placed alongside research by guys like Christian Smith (moralistic, therapeutic deism) are a continual reminder of what we in the Church are to be doing: teaching the faith.

    Things like this always make me want to go read the prologue to the Athanasian Creed…

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