'Cultural Theology' in a Mad Dash Across America
Baptist Theologian Not Surprised at Results of Latest Barna Survey
by Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) A well-known Baptist theologian says he's not surprised by the results of a new survey which point to great doctrinal confusion in America.
A recent survey done by Christian pollster George Barna shows that while most Americans agree with biblical teachings such as the Trinity and that they have an eternal soul, many of these same people embrace a works-based salvation, reject the concept of original sin, and believe that Satan is a symbol of evil rather than a real person.
The results, Barna says, reflect a nation whose theological views over the past two decades have become less aligned with the Bible and increasingly inclusive of many faith traditions.
"Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions and other sources," the researcher says. "Because we remain a largely Bible-literate society, few are alarmed or even aware of the slide toward 'syncretism' -- a belief system that blindly combines beliefs from many different faith perspectives."
Barna adds continuing research by his group among teens and adolescents indicates that the trend toward a "culture-based theology" is advancing at full gallop. He notes that few adults are alarmed by the trend because young people are "merely reflecting the trail that their parents and teachers have already blazed."
Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, says the survey results are not surprising. He says taken together, the research shows that Americans prefer a "pick-and-choose" brand of Christianity.
Mohler tells Baptist Press that "in the consumer culture of modern America, people want a Christianity they can assemble themselves ... take what parts seem best to them, and ... reject those that are offensive to the modern mind."
Mohler says while many have a basic knowledge of the Christian faith and call themselves Christians, they do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
In one of the more bizarre findings indicative of the move away from traditional biblical teaching, a plurality of adults (44%) contends that the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all "different expressions of the same spiritual truths." Just 38% of Americans reject that idea.
In addition, 54% of Americans believe truth can be discovered only through logic, human reasoning, and personal experience.