I'm reading a book by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons from the Barna Group entitled *Unchristian: What a New Generation Thinks about Christianity* This is a facinating look at what the general, younger, non-Christian population thinks about Christians and Christianity. If you are a Christian, it's far from flattering! I'd like to do a book review soon (once I finish the book; there's a lot of information here), but today I want to talk about one point that Kinnaman makes.
The question is, what does a Christian actually believe?
OK, let me take an (open-ended) question that was asked of Christians* in a Barna survey: Name the most important priorities for a Christian to pursue in terms of his or her faith?
*these Christians were defined as *born again* based on answers to questions in the survey. About 2 out of five adults were thus classified, that believe the following: 1) he or she has made a personal commitment to Jesus that is still important; and 2) the person believes he or she will go to heaven because he has confessed sin and accepted Christ as Savior.
Have your answer?
The Barna survey divided the answers into several categories. They were:
Lifestyle: doing the right thing, being good, not sinning (37%)
Discipleship: learning about Christ or the Bible (31%)
Evangelism: explaining or sharing the faith, leading people to Christ (25%)
Worship: worshipping G-d, singing (25%)
Relationships: loving others, making and keeping friends (23%)
Service: helping others, helping the poor, serving people (18%)
Stewardship: giving money, time, or resources to others, blessing others (4%)
Family Faith: disciplining your children, shaping family faith (1%)
Not Sure: (10%)
You can see that the largest emphasis was placed on living a *good* life, living by the ten commandments, not doing wrong things. In fact, Kinnaman's book discusses that many of these *born again* Christians seem to have a works component of their faith: that they must consistently do certain things in order to be considered forgiven. Some think that there may be other ways to heaven besides believing in Christ.
Let me make it clear that every person is entitled to believe whatever he chooses: I am NOT preaching here. However, if these beliefs are held, they are not consistent with Biblical Christianity. I see another blog entry or two discussing the question: what DOES a Christian believe? Will start in on this this week :-)
14 hours ago