Study shows many Evangelicals believe many ways to get to heaven

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by annsni, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. annsni

    annsni
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    Are American evangelicals abandoning the exclusivity of the Gospel? A new report out from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests that many evangelical Christians are, at the very least, badly confused about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    As Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reports:
    Most American religious believers, including most Christians, say eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Christ as their savior, a new survey finds.

    Of the 65% of people who held this open view of heaven's gates, 80% named at least one non-Christian group - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all- who may also be saved, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.


    http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=2971
     
  2. ray Marshall

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    Ann, Do these denomations also believe there are different ways that you can also lose after being saved? I hear a lot of that opinion also.
     
  3. SBCPreacher

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    I Think there two issues at work here.

    1. There are MANY who consider themselves to be Evangelicals who aren't. I like George Barna's definition of Evangelical:

    George Barna’s definition of “evangelical”:
    “Evangelicals” are a subset of born again Christians. In addition to meeting the born again criteria, evangelicals also meet seven other conditions. Those include
    **Saying their faith is very important in their life today.
    **Contending that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians.
    **Stating that Satan exists.
    **Maintaining that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works.
    **Declaring that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
    **Saying that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches.
    **Describing God as the Triune God who is the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.
    Being “evangelical” is not dependent upon any church or denominational affiliation or involvement.


    2. There is a lack of Biblical foundation and understanding in many churches today. Most people don't really know what they believe, much less why they believe it.

    That's my 2 cents worth.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    I think Barna's definition is extremely incomplete. I think born again Christians are actually a subset of evangelicals. Every survey I have seen from Barna uses too broad of a definition to tell anything about actual Christians -- followers of Christ.

    This reveals two things to me (neither of which is new or surprising):

    1) A lot of people claim to know God don't.
    2) Most churches have very weak teaching of the Word.
     
  5. SBCPreacher

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    You may be right. Today we have evangelical feminists, evangelical liberationists, evangelical ecumenists, young evangelical, radical evangelicals and liberal evangelicals. These are terms that are based on experience, biology or philosophical ideology which are at best unrelated and at worst completely contrary to an evangelical theology.

    I think it gets back to a lack of Biblical foundation. Far too many Believers don't know what they believe, or why they believe it.
     
  6. annsni

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    That I don't know.

    I just thought it was so sad to read that article. To think that there are those who are in churches and many of those ARE being taught that Jesus is the only way (I think it mentions that in the study), yet they still think that there are many ways to heaven. What kind of disciples are we raising when they don't even feel that the Scriptures are true and Jesus is the only way. I do think that so many churches forgo good systematic theology and teaching worldviews for watering down their message to gain the greatest acceptance. Certainly not all churches but so many that I see around here. We have a Presbyterian church at the bottom of my hill that is very unBiblical (as many of the Presbyterian churches have headed or are heading) - actually teaching the error of many ways and such. DH and I looked at that church when we moved here because we were attending a Presbyterian church in the next town and figured it would be nice to go to a local church. Once we realized their beliefs (and they are the same branch of Presbyterian), that was an absolute no go. :(
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    George Barna is part of the heretical house church movement. Because of this his survey's will be swayed.

    The term "Evangelical" has been high jacked by liberals who have worked hard to include themselves so as to be relevant. Personally I am an evangelistic Born Again Believer who holds to the fundamentals of the faith.
     
  8. mcdirector

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    I'm going to agree with this.

    BUT I'm also going to say that this is really scary because it means that we have a whole bunch of people claiming to be Christians who may well not be or may be and don't have a firm foundation.

    This seems to have occured in tandum with the movement toward personal application which oftimes neglects Bible study.
     
  9. SBCPreacher

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    I'm by no means arguing with you on this, but there is a difference between "Evangelical" and "evangelistic." Evangelical here, I believe, is a title of a group of people who profess to believe certain things.
     
  10. SBCPreacher

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    I guess a good question is this: Who gets to define the term "Evangelical"? And just exactly what is the definition?

    (I guess that's two questions.)
     
  11. Havensdad

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    I am not sure I would call house churches "heretical". Yes, Mr. Barna is a bit misled, but not "heretical".
     
  12. just-want-peace

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    If we had the conditions that exist on much of this old orb, there wouldn't be many "???" as to WHO'S the true Christian.

    Should He delay His coming, each of us just may get to test our own dedication on this plot of terra firma called America.
     
  13. J.D.

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    I was just studying on this very question last night. Most of the definitions I read sounded just like the definition of a fundamentalist, only less separated. Which may be the best way to define it. It's just that the encroachment of social and theological liberalism has mudied the waters.

    With that said, most people recognize Billy Graham as the preeminant evangelical leader of the 20th century, right? Well then it's no wonder that his theological children are embracing universalism, after all that's exactly what he himself did.
     
  14. Marcia

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    I agree with you. I've seen Inclusivism increase. In fact, I've started 2 threads in the past on the BB about inclusivism but there was not much of an apparent concern or response expressed in the threads.

    This is a view not just out there in moderate evangelical churches, but also among more conservative believers, or what we used to consider theologically conservative.
     
  15. Marcia

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    I think that the term "evangelical" has basically become meaningless.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    Thats right. And since the term has been high jacked I am separating myself from the term.
     
  17. Bible-boy

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    Nail hit squarely on the head.:thumbs:

    Barna should have said: "**Maintaining that eternal salvation is possible only through grace [by faith in Jesus Christ alone], not works."
     
    #17 Bible-boy, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2008
  18. gb93433

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    Tell us how your church stacks up as being orthodox compared to what George Barna wrote.

    From the book Growing True Disciples by George Barna , pages 128 - 132


    Let's Be Real

    Truthfully, while disciple-making must be a priority for you, by whatever means you select, you must enter the process with your eyes open. What happens when you make true disciples - not just students or group members, but real zealots for Christ?

    Peoples lives change
    The collection of disciples - the true Church - gains favor with the world.
    Society is changed by the disciples.
    Society experiences turmoil as a result of the Church being true to God's truths and commands.
    Disciples are persecuted.

    Making disciples and being a disciple is not a complete joyride. Disciple-making is not the answer to every cultural problem that exists - in fact, an effective discipleship process may create new tensions and animosities within the culture as God's principles clash with Satan's principles in the battle of spiritual kingdoms. But the hardships that arise as a result of engagement in disciple-making are no excuse to avoid or minimize our devotion to the process and its outcomes; in fact, they are an indicator that the Church is being the Church. As long as the battle between good and evil persists, we will not experience a peaceful, loving, wholly satisfying society. However, while being avid, passionate disciples of Jesus Christ will not bring about the perfect society, the thrust to be true disciples is the answer for each of us, individually, in the quest to become pleasing and honorable people in God's eyes.

    We cannot help but have a positive impact on the world when we are being Christ-like, even though the results of our life may not always look pretty. Not even Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of Humankind, was loved by all people. If we follow His ways and His footsteps, we should not expect to be loved and accepted by everyone either. But God, the Father of Creation, was completely pleased with the work of the Son - and that was all that mattered to the Son. So Jesus is our model and that is our challenge: to gain the acceptance of the Father, by imitating the work of the Son, through the empowerment of the Spirit. The results that emerge are up to God to disentangle. That is a task clearly beyond our capabilities.

    When you hire people, you study their lives to look for clues as to what they will be like as an employee. When you buy products, you study the contents and reviews to determine which products will provide the outcomes you desire. As you strive to become a disciple and to make disciples, keep your eyes on the substance of the subject, whether it is you or someone whom you are discipling.

    Here's what you're looking for - and, if it's absent, what you are trying to infuse within the true disciple:
    the passion of Stephen
    the joy of the post-Pentecost apostles
    the integrity of Nathanael
    the availability of Mary
    the perseverance of Paul
    the transformation of Peter
    the wisdom of James
    the servanthood of Martha
    the love of John
    the generosity of Joseph the Levite from Cyprus
    the seriousness of John the Baptist
    the studiousness of Luke
    the humility and reverent faith of the centurion
    the evangelistic sharing of Andrew
    the character of Jesus


    None of these stalwarts of the faith (with the exception of Jesus) was a perfect representation of each of the qualities listed here. Each of these individuals stood out for a handful of qualities, and presumably worked on developing other qualities that brought them into greater conformity with Jesus' life. As you study their paths to glory keep in mind that even the models of our faith fell short of the glory of God. By our very nature, we always will; but by God's will, we must not accept our limitations as excuses to give up.

    The real obstacles to becoming a fully devoted, zealous disciple of Christ are not money, time, methods or knowledge. The major obstacle is the human heart. When that changes, all else changes. Jesus frequently reminded His disciples that the problem was not one of knowledge but of character The Pharisees had more religious knowledge than they knew what to do with but they lacked the character to apply it in ways that transformed themselves and their world. Judas spent many months living with Jesus, observing His ways and His miracles, learning timeless and transforming principles directly from the lips of the Master, and yet all of His knowledge and experience could not compensate for a wicked heart. A disciple is a person of Christian character. Just as Paul instructed his young disciple Timothy, if you develop appropriate character, the rest will follow.
    Go, Therefore ...
    Be a true disciple. Go and make disciples.
    And what will it look like, when it works?

    True discipleship produces holistic personal transformation, not mere assimilation into a community of church members.

    True discipleship is witnessed by people who are determined to be a blessing to others - people who are never content to simply accept and enjoy God's blessings to them.

    True discipleship creates Christians who aggressively pursue spiritual growth rather than passively experience spiritual evolution.

    True discipleship spawns individuals who develop renewed lifestyles instead of believers who mechanically check off completed assignments on a developmental agenda.

    True discipleship results in people who are more concerned about the quality of their character than the extent of their knowledge.

    True discipleship builds churches known for their culture of love, commitment and service rather than for their events, information and programs.

    True discipleship facilitates people devoted to a lifelong journey to imitate Jesus Christ, rather than the completion of a short-term regimen of tasks and responsibilities.

    Do you passionately want to become a zealous disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you committed to bring others with you on that amazing journey?

    Discipleship is about complete obedience to the Word of God, driven by a heart that can stand to do nothing less and a mind that knows it pays to focus on nothing less and a mind that knows it pays to focus on nothing else. Can we fulfill this mammoth challenge? Jesus, our mentor, says we can. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these..." (John 14:12)

    If you are devoted to the process of spiritual growth, and to allowing God's Holy Spirit to shape you on that journey, how you end up will bear scant resemblance to what you were when you began the journey.
     
  19. MB

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    It would seem that the term "Evangelical" has been generalized to include far to many who aren't Evangelical. The term Christian has been generalized as well.
    MB
     
  20. Zenas

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    I'm a little suspicious of the survey. It doesn't match with my experience among Evangelicals. It does, however, match with the so called mainline Proststants. I doubt if Barna has mischaracterized Evangelicals, but I also believe his questions must have been a mile wide. When you ask a broad enough question, you will often get an overly broad answer.
     

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