In 2016, Lifeway Research revealed a study which indicated that the ignorance of American Christians has grown to the point that the majority could actually be considered heretics. As the study put it:
Although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself. The really sad part? Even when we’re denying the divinity of Christ, we can’t keep our story straight. Americans talking about theology sound about as competent as country singers rapping.
Jonathan Bock and I discussed the implications of this in our book “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back.” The ramifications are enormous. False teaching and wrong believing create Christians who aren’t just weak, they’re actually damaging to the cause of Christ.
Pastors and church leaders: I would encourage you to read this summary of the study, and then consider changing whatever your sermon plans are for the next year. Start focusing on teaching the historic theology and doctrines of the faith. Because whatever it is that pastors have been preaching, for the majority of Christians it’s not helping.
How can we wonder why the surrounding culture is collapsing, when the majority of Christians aren’t living out their faith?
How can we wonder why Christianity is disappearing, when people sitting in our services believe heretical ideas?
How can we wonder why evangelism is failing, when we don’t care enough to share the gospel?
We don’t have to be glum, fire-breathing, or grumpy. After all, people were exhilarated after hearing the Apostle Paul.
Pass this around. Share it with every pastor, Bible teacher, and church leader you know.
Because if we don’t get this train back on the track, there’s nothing but disaster in our future.