In a conversation yesterday, a friend pointed me to the State of Theology report, prepared by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research. From time to time, it surveys Americans generally, and those who identify themselves as “evangelicals”. What is most notable is the trend that is seen as the years go by: the United States is becoming more secular.
As Canadians, we already know what that’s like.
In the US, though, it takes on a different meaning, because of the common conflation of conservative Christianity and conservative politics. (For example, while it is not universally true, many Americans who vote Republican would also classify themselves as evangelicals, even if their core beliefs do not reflect the theological tenets of evangelicalism.)
If you review the survey results cited in the link above, you will find that the surveyors ask questions about both theology and ethics. It is interesting that as our understanding of the authority of the Bible changes, so too do our ethics.
Of greatest concern to followers of Jesus should not be the changing views on abortion or human sexuality or any number of other ‘hot button’ issues of our time, as important as these are. What should be most concerning is the drift that is noticeable on what constitutes authoritative truth.
If we no longer believe the Bible to be God’s authoritative Word, then our views on social issues will not be as likely to reflect the position of the Lord as outlined in Scripture.
This is true, no matter what country or culture we live in.
As people of the Lord, we need to be committed to the basics of our faith. In one sense, we could say that if we take care of the basics, the basics will take care of us.
So when you read your Bible, take it seriously, and let God’s Word affect all aspects of your life.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55.10-11, NLT).