Sunday, April 09, 2006

Barna’s Wacky Stats.

According to a new report by George Barna, 45% of adults meet the criteria of being born again. That would mean that close to half of the adult population is born again. But don’t waive the victory flag just yet. A closer look at the criteria reveals something different, at least if you look at things from a biblical perspective.

Barna apparently has two categories of born again Christians. The first one involves a broad definition of those who have “made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.” In this category, the respondents questioned did not describe themselves as born again, but merely met Barna’s criteria. They also did not meet the criteria to be called evangelicals. This category constitutes 36% of the adult population.

The other category is made up of evangelicals who meet the criteria mentioned above, plus the seven "core beliefs that mirror those taught in the Bible." These represent 9% of the adult public. The seven core beliefs are as follows:

  • Saying that their faith is very important in their life today
  • A belief in the responsibility to share their faith with non-Christians.
  • Believing that Satan exists.
  • Salvation is only through grace alone, not works.
  • Believing in the sinless life of Jesus Christ.
  • Affirming the accuracy of the Bible.
  • Believing God is all-knowing, all-powerful, the perfect deity who created and rules the universe today.

After reading the article, I had to think to myself “Huh?” The second category more accurately reflects what it means to be born again. How can one claim to possess saving faith without affirming those seven core beliefs? Those are not optional, they are essential! So it seems that the reality is that only 9% are actually “born again” and possess legitimate saving faith.

This effort to make saving faith broad and inclusive is setting up people for deception. It was Jesus who said “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14, NASB)


Mike Perrigoue said...

9%...scary. But closer to the truth, I'm sure.

AuthenticTruth said...

Yes, it is scary. But what bothers me is how Barna can interpret his exagerated statistics as a sign that we are moving in the right direction. To me it just shows how evangelicalism is losing its doctrinal foundation and subsequent ability to proclaim the message of saving faith with any clarity.

John Haller said...

Barna is great at recognizing or creating problems and then offering to sell you the solution to the problem he helped create.

AuthenticTruth said...

Yea, Barna makes a great consultant, doesn't he?