Barna Report: Apostacy in "Mainstream" Denoms

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by javalady, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. javalady

    javalady
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    This is from the Barna Group. It's a shame they didn't ask us Baptists. Looks like we aren't considered "Mainstream" enough for them! :D
    Seriously it is tragic to see the apostacy taking over what were once strongly Biblical Christian churches (tho' off about baptism & one or two other things...).
    We received this via e-mail, so I don't have all the references, but here it is in full:
    IS PROTESTANT COLLAPSE INEVITABLE?
    The Barna Group
    Commenting on the recent findings of the Barna Research Group, Dr. Paul Hinlicky, ELCA theologian at Roanoke College, told the UPI that
    the survey disclosed "an absolute collapse of mainline Protestantism" in the USA. The well-known research group summarized its study as showing a "very considerable diversity within the
    Christian community regarding core beliefs," an erosion that disturbs Hinlicky.
    Barna Research found only 21 percent of Lutherans in America, 20 percent of the Episcopalians, 18 per cent of the Methodists, and 22 percent of the Presbyterians attest to the basic Protestant doctrine that a man does not earn his way to heaven by good works. Yet this doctrine, that man is made right with God ("justified") alone by
    grace through faith in Christ's saving work (with "good works" being simply the fruits of faith) is the foundation of the Reformation,
    Hinlicky noted, and is accepted by only nine percent of Roman Catholics in the USA. "If this figure holds up it signals a complete breakdown of catechetical instruction," said Hinlicky.
    His colleague in the Religion Department at Roanoke, Episcopalian Gerald McDermott, agreed: "This happened because in the last 30
    years American pastors have lost their nerve to preach a theology that goes against the grain. We are witnessing what Francis Shaeffer predicted over 20 years ago -- that the American church of the future would be dedicated solely to peace and affluence."
    By contrast, the Barna researchers found that in the evangelical churches like the Assemblies of God, Pentecostal/Foursquare and nondenominational groups, more than 60 percent of the members
    remain committed to the "justification by faith formula" of the Reformation.
    Other Erosions
    McDermott commented also on the gloomy parallel finding that only 33 percent of the Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists, and only 28 percent of the Episcopalians, agreed with the statement that Christ was without sin. He said that these numbers indicate "an epochal change in popular theology. This would suggest a loss of faith in
    the Divinity of Christ." He added, "Christ would then be no more than the Dalai Lama, an admirable kind of a guy."
    Hinlicky proposed that "zero theology" in the mainline churches since the 1960's is the cause of this breakdown in the faith. It contrasts with the evangelical churches, including the Baptist
    denomination, where 55 to 73 percent believe that Christ is sinless.
    McDermott believes that the cowardice of pastors is responsible for the tectonic changes in their members' faith. "They are afraid to preach and teach anything that challenges what people already think.
    The result is a belief in a meek, mild-mannered God who does not want to judge us. They have given up talking about divorce, abortion and homosexuality, and are even retreating from the Trinity." He illustrated by recounting how on Trinity Sunday "I was in an Episcopal church, where the rector stated that this was only
    something for pastors to think about. Ordinary people did not have to bother with it."
    The Barna finding that a mere 17 percent of the Catholics, 18 percent Methodists, 20 percent Episcopalians, 21 percent Lutherans, and 22 percent of the Presbyterians told Barna that they thought Satan was real, was particularly puzzling to Hinlicky. "It tells us that even the Lutherans are utterly out of step with Luther, to whom
    the Devil was very much a reality."
    [EDITOR DAVID VIRTUE'S RESPONSE: How aptly these foreboding findings underline the late Francis Schaeffer's prophetic vision, that the present-day churches are too timid to confront and challenge the politically correct values of our culture. This can be seen, for example, in the
    fact that while less than 4000 people perished in the Twin-Towers Attack on 9/11, that very day and every day before and since, more than 4000 unborn children in the US are sacrificed in abortion clinics - yet your editor at least, has not uncovered in the media, religious or secular, a single reference to this gruesome parallel.]

    [ February 25, 2002, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: javalady ]
     
  2. JAMES2

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    Javalady:
    Thank you so much for the informative post. I think the really sad fact is that survey, I think, is way to optimistic. I found, when I finally decided to search for a church that taught DOCTRINE, instead of the water-downed, Jesus loves everybody, become a christian and have a Dodge Viper in the garage, a new house, and an over-flowing bank account, perfect health, absolute success, a psychobabbler of your very own, and on and on, that the knowledge of the basic doctrines of Christianity are almost non-existent. Try to talk to someone about Justification by Faith. It draws a blank look. I would get in a church, hear about the latest politically correct trends of the trendy day, maybe be greeted by a deacon (usually a 32-degree mason) offered a hand out about how the church has a "contemporary service" on Sunday nights, etc.

    I feel that the vast majority of people attending Church (usually to cover their .... well.. bases) know zero about plan of salvation, prophecy, justification by faith, grace, hell, heaven, the harmony of the gospels, the Old Testament, etc.

    I'm not saying the people on this board fit in this box, obviously, but I'm talking about the average person (who didn't walk, but ran to the nearest church on 9-11, but have since left because they think their hide is ok until the next disaster).

    Your article said that the state of the mainline churches was just about a total disaster. I would extend that to about 99 per cent of the so-called Christian churches, and to about 99.9 per cent of the people that call themselves Christian. Is that harsh? Maybe!!! But what is going on is really serious.

    Your Mega churches, where you have people jumping up and down in the aisles, being slain in the spirit, talking about the Holy Spirit 100 per cent of the time instead of being Christ-centered, speaking in tongues (yea, right), mumbling in a private prayer language (Pleasseee!!!) dancing in the spirit, raising people from the dead(not from the local mortuary of course), healing the sick (not from the cancer wards of the local hospitals, of course) and preaching Jesus loves everybody, come as you are, politically correct man-made religion, you have growth. Boy, it's GROWTH that counts, right?

    It truly is sickening and here I go again. Probably have this post knocked off like several of my others, but, oh well, thought I'd let people know that I agree with your post, only it didn't go far enough. Things are much worse for TRUE, DOCTRINE-preaching, Bible-based, Christ-centered churches. I guess if you want to "grow" you have to jump up and down in the aisle, and scream, and yell and cry about your "private vision, or latest relevation" from God.

    Boy, do I think the Church is in trouble.
    James2
     
  3. Molly

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    James2,you have pretty much summed up all of my concerns about the church today....what to do?????
     
  4. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    Javalady, the October 2001 issue of SBC Life cited a Barna study (perhaps the same one) that indicated that evangelical Christians (including baptists) were not much farther ahead of those numbers you listed for mainline Christians.

    Joshua
     
  5. JAMES2

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    Molly:
    I feel rather strongly about the topic, as you can probably tell. I would have been a little more blunt, but thought I better cool it.

    And, yes, the post by Joshua is right (what is this world coming to?) Private joke. Anyway, I believe the baptist churches are maybe a little bit better than the mainline, but sinking fast.
    Molly, have a great day.
    James2
     
  6. javalady

    javalady
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    Hi again folks. Good to see your post again, James2. I appreciate what you had to say. Hello Molly! Good to meet you. And hello Joshua; thanks for dropping in.
    Yes, I was joking kind of "tongue in cheek" when I said they should have asked us Baptists.
    When we moved from KS to CA 8-ish years ago, we called something like 14 churches within a 1-hour distance from us (the SF Bay Area at that time). All referred to themselves as Baptist or Bible churches. We asked: do you believe these doctrines (and specified). Many said no, some said "Yes, but we don't teach doctrine; we teach 'life application.'" A few asked us to repeat our questions, because they didn't understand the theological terms (Calvinism, Arminianism, etc.)!!
    So, yes, sadly, the apostacy is nation-wide, and it is "name-wide" also.
    So many so-called Baptist churches are little (if any) different from the ear-pleasing churches.
    One solution? If you can't find a good Bible teaching church in your area, prayerfully begin one of your own!! After all, as priests & kings unto our God (1 Pet. 2)we don't need a papal decree or a hierarchy's blessing to begin.
    If there is a man mature enough to lead in a Bible study--even if he isn't called to actually pastor the church--he can help to begin a fellowship of believers that can pray, worship & study the Word together. And they can begin to seek God for His elder(s).
    Godly women of the past (who had no good church, nor a man around to lead) sometimes held services in their homes. They did not act as pastor; merely as a hostess. Prayer was taken part in, song & worship; and then the sermon by a godly man was read and considered in light of Scripture.
    It's a whole lot more sane than sitting in a church that's given itself over to heresy, or has a joker for a pastor who tells jokes & stories instead of preaching/teaching the Word.
    "Fear not, little flock" Jesus said. Tho' His faithful may be a remnant (compared to the many who are lukewarm or apostate) yet He has promised to give us the keys to the Kingdom! And so He has: by His Word & His Spirit.
     
  7. spcjoose

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    I disagree with the bleak analysis of the church in America today. I have lived in Wyoming, Kansas, San Diego, Austin, and Kentucky, and have found churches that preach the whole gospel in each. In all by KS, there were several churches, so I always had my choice of which best suited my personality and Spiritual walk at the time. In KS where the pickings were tight, I found my ministry in helping to establish truth in an existing body. Everyone of us has a calling to get the bride (the church) ready for the wedding (heaven).
     
  8. TomVols

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    The mainline collapse has been well predicted and documented. Thanks to the iron grip of the previous optimacy, we were doomed to an equal fate. . However, the conservative resurgence in the SBC is staving off this malaise.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Many people believe the apostasy in the traditional mainline churches mirrors the general decline in TRUE Bible-believing, Bible-preaching salvation-by-grace churches.
    And remember, only 1 in 73 people alive today even make a claim of being "born again by faith in Christ alone". THAT is the saddest statistic of all.
     
  10. JAMES2

    JAMES2
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    Justin Rose:
    I don't mean to be critical but you said you just search for a "church to suit your personality." I submit, that is exactly what is wrong with the church. Do you mean that if you are laid-back you want a laid-back church, if you are high-spirited you want a high-spirited church, if you are always in a bad mood you want a bad mood church etc.?

    About the last thing a person needs to do is find a church that "suits my personality. What is needed is to find a church that teaches DOCTRINE, Bible-based doctrines, like Justification by Faith, the Sovereignity of God, the free gift of grace, the teaching of scripture, both Old and New Testament. I may have read you wrong, so if I did please forgive me. What about a church that has 500 people in it and they all have different personalities? Poor preacher then, I guess.

    I was talking about the total lack of solid teaching, whether the people wanted to hear it or not, not just what feels good or tells people I'm ok, you're ok, everybody is ok, the homosexual is ok, the people living together, but not married are ok, eveyone is going to heaven because Jesus loves everyone, etc. That is what I was referring to. I'm talking about that lukewarm church that doesn't want to offend anyone.
    James2

    P.S. Thanks for the kind words Javalady.

    [ February 26, 2002, 01:01 AM: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     
  11. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    There is only one thing that I can say to JAMES2-

    ----AMEN!!!!!
     
  12. Barnabas H.

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    We are attending an IBC outside of Manhattan,NY., because we did not find a fundamental, Bible preaching, teaching, uncompromising, and soulwinning church in our immediate vicinity. But I would not be as glum in my outlook as grouping all churches together according to the Barna search, for there are churches out there still which did not sell out to the "politically correct" phenomena. Remember, Jesus Christ will come back for His "bride" (the Church), therefore there will be a remnant, there will be a faithful bunch always - until He comes.

    There will always be a remnant of the Church, a faithful bunch, who will be like the five wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and the Lord will come back for them all (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). [​IMG]
     
  13. JAMES2

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    Barnabas:
    I agree that only a remnant will be left -- and that's about what is left now. So the time must be close when things will start happening to bring this mess to an end. I believe, based on the regathering of Israel in May 14, 1948, and other signs that we have had the privilege of living to see, that God is about to EVICT the squatters from the hotel (the earth). People that have been insisting that there is no God, that if they were God they would do things differently, that insist on doing there own thing, etc, are about to find out how wrong they are.

    Praise God, and come Jesus, the remnant are ready. For the rest of you, well, you have been warned just like the people before the flood were warned (Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot, the flood didn't happen. That was just a myth!!) Boy, are some people in for it.
    James2

    [ February 26, 2002, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     
  14. javalady

    javalady
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    LOL! :D
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    What kind of talk is this the you will get yours attitude? Is that how true christians talk? Yes the churches are in a sad state but who put them there? Its nice to blame the other guy but when it comes right down to it we been sitting on the seat of do nothingness. I'm not talking about a christian rebellion but a christian stand.

    One elder on another site made this observation You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything. Where was the church when all these things were slipping in the door? They just didn't one day appear! Other things had to be falling away to allow those things to get in the church.

    The Primitive Baptist Churches that I belong to is starting to go liberal but we are praying for these brethren that they may see the error of their ways and embrace the old paths of their forefathers. We are not throwing the baby out with the bath water but we are making a stand against unsound doctrine and practice.

    Ministers that are preaching these heresies and that is exactly what they are heresies, should be set down by the church and rebuked. If that poll that Javalady posted is true there is much work to do. We are christian soldiers in the army of the Lord and there is a battle against evil on our hands. We know who the enemy is and has always been "If thou be the Christ?"... And Brothers and sisters he hasn't changed his ways since he deceived our first parents.

    He has slipped in the church because we were not guarding the door. He has brought all his doctrine with him. The doctrine of denial... Yeah hath God said!... Did God really say that? Did God really mean what he said? I will close this with a question I would like to ask everyone here. Do you know your articles of faith and rules of decorum? Do you know exactly what your church believes and preaches and what your church practices? If you don't you should find out and if you disagree find a church whose doctrine is sound. Remember the scripture If the trumpet make an uncertain sound who shall prepare himself to battle?... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ February 26, 2002, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  16. JAMES2

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    Brother Glenn:
    What kind of attitude is this "some are going to get it," talk? Well, for starters lets try the word TRUTH!!! Or do you deny that the road is wide leading to destruction and many will travel it?

    ANYONE can think what they want. You need to point out where I'm wrong. When you have "gay" ministers -- men and women -- being accepted as "ministers" when you have people that don't even know the basic doctrines of the church, when you have churches playing rap "music" so they can "attract the youth," when you have churches putting on plays they have seen on TV so they can bring in the numbers - and the money- it is about time that a spade is called a spade.
    I guess one of my virtues is not being a diplomat. Never claimed to be.

    [ February 28, 2002, 02:38 AM: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     
  17. tyndale1946

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    Doctrine... Doctrine... Doctrine... Not only doctrine but sound doctrine. I may have been a little harsh but you have to stand for something.
    What I would like to see is a comparison between now and when I was a young man say 30 years ago. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone because the finger points both ways. I was just making an observation of what I've seen over the years.

    I can take the blame as well as anyone and am not afraid to step up to the plate if I'm wrong.
    Here is a quote by Dr. Bob
    Along with that those who don't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. That he was the Son of God and that he arose from the dead.

    I know James2 that many are taking the wide road to destruction and the sad part is a lot of them are christians. Why are they falling away from the church and what is the reason?... Brother Glen :(

    [ February 28, 2002, 10:57 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  18. Maverick

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    I have known this for years. It all ties back to the 1880's with Higher Criticism and dropping the KJV and accepting the polluted texts. Baptists are doing the same and some are only a couple of years behind the mainstream in their heresy and apostasy and the other will be there in the next generation if we make it to one. Many of us are already where the world was in their philosophy 50 years ago. In 50 years we will be where they are now and those we considere Liberal now will be seen as fundamentalists then. Time to seek the old paths as the one we are on only leads to destruction.
     
  19. JAMES2

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    Brother Glenn:
    I'm a little disappointed in your reply. Of course, I assumed you or anyone else would see that I was advocating SOUND DOCTRINE!!!! Would I be pushing for unsound doctrine based on someone's "feelings" or personal "experiences"? Of course not!!!!

    Whether anyone agrees or not I would say that if every single Christian in the pew knew and understood the Canons of Dort, or the Westminister Confession or the 1689 Baptist Confession of faith, even tho one can disagree with some of the points, they would be far better off than believing that jumping up and down, screaming, getting emotional to the point of fainting, having "visions", having "prophecy," words of knowledge, babbling in tongues, etc. and all the other nonsense that passes for christianity these days. I don't mean to offend anyone, I am not "angry" unchristian, mean-spirited like some of you like to accuse me of being. I AM very passionate about my beliefs, I feel horrible that the modern-day church sinking into such a horrible state of heresy, sinking into a feel-good club that lacks even the pretense of teaching the Apostolic doctrines.

    If people want to accuse ME of being unchristian, have at it. I know it really hurts to hear the truth, but the truth will set you free. Get out of those dead, sorry excuses for a church and find one that is based on SOUND DOCTRINE, not your feel-good, personal experiences.
    Love, peace, flowers.
    James2
     
  20. JAMES2

    JAMES2
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    Maverick:

    AMEN! AND AMEN!!!!!
    I'm sure glad that when you get right down to it God is in control. This post-Chrisitan era that we are now in just goes to show where going to church Sunday after Sunday and hearing the latest trends of the day, like female "ministers" the obscenity of homosexual "ministers" listening to "Christian rap," to get you into the mood to listen how Christians should "plant their seed money" and on and on, gets you.

    50 years of teaching drivel to the young and now the young are taking over and teaching even more drivel to the young and you end up with what? A Eagles club, or a social club. Nothing resembling a Christian church, that's for sure!!
    Maverick, an Amen to your post.
    James2

    [ March 01, 2002, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: JAMES2 ]
     

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