“American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the 20th
century because Jesus’ modern-day disciples do not act like Jesus.”
Who would dare say such a thing?
Someone who knows what he’s talking about: George Barna.
If you’re not familiar with the name, George Barna is founder of Barna Research Group, a firm that specializes in studying Christianity in America. In his 2003 book, Think Like Jesus (Ventura, CA: IssacharResources, 2003), Barna reminds us that our worldview – the way we think – determines how we act. Our actions flow out of our worldview. Unfortunately, most born-again Christians don’t have a Biblical worldview, and so don’t act like Jesus.
Just who are born-again Christians? And what’s a Biblical worldview? Let’s define our terms. Barna defines born-again Christians as individuals with “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in (their) life today.” In addition, they believe they “will go to Heaven because (they) have confessed (their) sins and accepted Jesus Christ as (their) savior” (p. 35).
Defining a Biblical worldview is a bit more complicated. We all have a worldview. It shapes our decisions and choices, usually without our ever knowing it. In a nutshell, a worldview is like a pair of eyeglasses we see the world through. The question is, who wrote the prescription? If God wrote it, then we see things the way He wants us to see them. In fact, we see the world from God’s point of view. That’s a Biblical worldview. According to Barna, a person with a Biblical worldview believes in:
certain doctrines that have historically been considered “orthodox Christianity”
absolute truth. You can’t have your truth and I’ll have mine.
The Bible as the source of absolute moral truth
So far, so good. But details from Think Like Jesus give the bad news:
Only one out of four born-again adults (25%) “make their moral and ethical decisions on the basis of the Bible” (p. 36).
Only one out of seven born-again adults (14%) “rely on the Bible as their moral compass and believe that moral truth is absolute” (p. 37).
Most disturbing of all: 91% of all born-again adults and 98% of all born-again teenagers do not have a Biblical worldview (p. 39).
To put it another way - only 9% of born-again adults have a Biblical worldview! Most of these people who claim to have a relationship with Jesus don’t think like Jesus. And if we don’t think like Jesus, you can be sure that we won’t act like Him!
These are the first couple of paragraphs of the article I wrote last year for FaithTalk magazine, a publication of Salem Publishing (sister company of KPXQ radio where we broadcast Every Square Inch - every Saturday morning at 7:00.)
Every Square Inch is now on at 11:00 AM Saturdays - still on KPXQ, AM 1360.