How long have you been a "Child of God" ? Many, many years you say. So do you know what you believe ? Do you know what your church believes ?
The Barna survey asked questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons.
All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. In total, three-quarters (78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.”
Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.
Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.
Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.
A majority of Christians believe that a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces, such as demons or evil spirits. Two out of three Christians agreed that such influence is real (39% agreed strongly, 25% agreed somewhat), while just three out of ten rejected the influence of supernatural forces (18% disagreed strongly, 10% disagreed somewhat). The remaining 8% were undecided on this matter.
Who is the Barna Group?
( Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company located in Ventura, California. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture.)
I must admit, these stats are very interesting, but they don't surprise me given today's " Christian belief" psychology. Is this a sign of the "end times" ? ( 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 13) Or is the church just a falling away from the "old time religion"? ( 1 Cor 1:18)
Nonetheless, do these stats trouble you ? If so, what is your church doing to create a more positive image of Christianity? ( Being Christ-like) ( Philippians 2:5)
In answering this question about the church, it is absolutely scriptural to consider such questions as , Is your church service being guided by God's Holy Spirit ? (James 3:17) ( 1 Cor. 2:9-13, 16). Or is the activity just one big social event ? ( James 4:17)
Does your preacher, preach the Word ? ( 2 Timothy 4:2) Or are you only getting dissertations on nursery rimes ? ( 2 Cor 11:4)
Is your church reaching out by gaining members ? ( Acts 2:41,47) Or is your church loosing members, by way of the back door ? ( Revelation 2:4)
And what about those visitors looking for a church ? Did you get their demographic information and were they later contacted ? If not, could that be why they never return ? ( Galatians 6:10 )
So what is the true church all about ? The church should teach biblical doctrine. ( Ephesians 4:14). The church is to be a place of Christian fellowship. ( Romans 12:10) The church should have compassion for one another. ( Romans 15:14) The church should encourage one another. ( 1 Thess 5:11) The church should show love, one for another. ( 1 John 3:11)
And most importantly, the church should be a place of prayer. ( Philippians 4:6-7) This alone, should be the work of the church as prayer should be promoted, taught and practiced. Everyone can't be a Pastor or a Deacon, but everyone, even the church shut-ins, can pray.
And above all, the church should proclaim the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. ( Matthew 28:18-20 ) ( Acts 1:8) ( 1 Peter 3:15)
Every church should have a Spirit driven purpose. The purpose of the church should be the salvation of the lost; the edification and separation of believers through the teaching of God's Holy Word; the world-wide proclamation of the gospel as expressed in the shed blood and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary's Cross; the promotion of Godly worship; the defense of the "Faith Once Delivered"; and the study of the scriptures, until He comes again.( Revelation 22: 7, 14, 17,20 )
The church should have a brief declaration of faith and belief, confirming the church. Stating that the best worship of God and service to fellowman should be through a congregational form of church government, and at the same time, remain loyal to the fundamental principles that are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, ( 1 Cor 15:1-4) and not being unmindful of the heritage that is through the Holy Church of New Testament Faith. ( Acts 2: 41-47)
The church should include a statement of authority, which is the Word of God.( 2 Timothy 3:16) ( 2 Peter 1:21) The Word of God should be the ultimate authority, and be superior to the content and meaning of any church constitution by which the organization will be administered. In no way should the teachings of Christ or the Holy Scriptures be pre-empted
Now comes the meat of our belief. There again, do you know what you believe ? Do you know what your church believes ? According to the stats, given at the start of this discourse, apparently a good number of "Christians" are very weak in their beliefs. I just wonder how these stats would have compared with the stats, say 50 years ago.
WHAT WE BELIEVE- A SAMPLE
1, We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as verbally inspired by God, and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in and life. ( 2 Timothy 3:16- 17) ( 2 Peter 1:20-21).
2. We believe in One God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ( Deut 6:4) ( Matthew 28:19).
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is properly God and man. ( Luke 1:30-35) ( John 1:18)
4.We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby, incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death which is separation from God. 'Hence, totally depraved man has inherited and possesses a sinful nature. ( Genesis 1:26-27) ( Genesis 2L16-17 ) ( Romans 5:8-10) ( 1 Timothy 2:5-6 ) ( Hebrews 4:15)
5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures as a perfect representative and complete substitutionary sacrifice; and that all that believe on Him are justified on the basis of His shed blood. ( Romans 5:8-10) ( 1 Timothy 2:5-6) ( Hebrews 4:15)
6. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord; in His ascension into heaven' seated at the Father's right hand; and His present life there for us as High Priest, advocate, and Head of the Church. ( John 20: 1-29) ( Acts 1:9-11) ( Ephesians 1:20-23) ( 1 Cor 15:1-4)
7. We believe in "that blessed hope", the personal and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. ( 1 Thess 4:13-18)
8. We believe in the Bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. ( 1 Cor 15:1-50) ( Revelation 20:1-6)
9. We believe that a person is born again by a personal faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; that at regeneration, all believers in this age are also indwelt by the Holy Spirit, baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, unto the day of redemption. ( Romans 10:9-10 ) ( Romans 8:11) ( 1 Cor 12:13) Ephesians 4:30 )
10. We believe that sanctification is separation unto God and is threefold.
a, Positionally, the believer was sanctified at conversion by virtue of a union with Christ.
b. Progressively, the believer is continually being sanctified through the Word by obedience to the Word by walking in the Spirit, thereby controlling the lust of the flesh, and producing the fruit of the Spirit.
c. Ultimately, the believer will be completely confirmed to the image of Jesus Christ, when seeing the Savior face to face. 9 John 17:17 ( Ephesians 5:6) ( Colossians 3:1-4) ( 1 John 3:1-3)
11. We believe that the church is the Body of Christ, composed of all who are born again during this age of grace; that the local church is to gather together for the purpose of observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and observing the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word for the purpose of edifying the Body of Jesus Christ. ( Acts 2 1-47) ( Romans 12L1-8) ( 1 Cor 12:1--31 )
12. We believe in the ordnance of the Lord's Supper and that it is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded by self-examination. ( 1 Cor 11:23-31)
13. We believe in the ordinance of ritual baptism and allow a Christian to be baptized according to their personal conviction. ( ( Matthew 28:19 )
14. We believe that the Great Commission was given to the church collectively and to each Christian , and our mission it the faithful witnessing of Jesus Christ to all as we have opportunity. ( Matthew 28:18-20 ) ( Romance 10:9-17)
15. We believe the work of the church be supported financially solely by tithes and offerings, given in obedience to the Scriptures and out of love for the Lord. ( 2 Cor 9:7)
Some final thoughts on the church. The church should be about the business of ministering to those in need. This includes not only sharing the gospel, but also providing for physical needs ( food, clothing, shelter ) as needed. ( James 1:27) William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once penned the phrase, " S.S. S", an acronym for " Soup, Soap, and Salvation" . He said you could not get a person save until you fed them and cleaned them up. Thus, the S.S.S.
The church is also to equip believers in Christ with the tools they need to overcome sin and remain free from the evils of this world. ( Ephesians 6:11-18) This is accomplished by biblical teachings and Christian fellowship. ( Philippians 1:9-11,18 )
So now, do you know what you believe ? The Apostle Paul gave an excellent illustration to the believers in Corinth. The church is God's hands, mouth and feet in this world- the body of Christ. ( 1 Cor 12:12-27) We are to be doing those task that Jesus Christ would do if He were here in the 21st century. For the church to be the church, it must be "Christian", Christ-like," and Christ following.
I have been very disturbed and subsequently convicted over the direction the modern day church has taken. We just need to get back to the "old time religion". I pray that you feel the same urgent need. This conviction is reflected in my many recent writings.
Please read these other writings, at your convenience, by simply click on my name above and scanning the menu. Thanks for viewing.
God's Praise Music
How do you worship
What Has Happened To Our Old Time Religion
What Should I Wear To Church
God Builds His Church On Broken People
Living In The Churchless Age
Stay Away Saints
Will The Real Church Please Stand Up
The Church Ice Age
The Church Triumphant
Have You Found Your Church.
MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU IN YOUR CHURCH RESPONSIBILITY.
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