Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Polls, Schmollz. No Compromise!!
Today, everyone is atwitter about this headline story/religion poll in the United States. I can't wait to hear how some in the Emergent Church camp will try to crow, saying "See! See! Your traditional way of doing things isn't cutting it anymore. You have to change!" (Sounds eerily like Obama, doesn't it?)
Let's look a bit at some of the numbers. (These reflect Washington State, but supposedly mirror the rest of the country in large part)
More than 90 percent of Americans — including one in five people who say they are atheists — believe in God or a universal power, and more than half pray at least once a day.
Nearly three-fourths of Americans believe in heaven as a place where people who have led good lives will be eternally rewarded. And almost 60 percent believe in hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without repenting are eternally punished, the poll found.
• About 64 percent said they were absolutely certain in their belief in God or a universal spirit, compared with 71 percent nationally.
• About 54 percent pray at least once a day, compared to 58 percent nationally.
• A third attend religious services at least once a week, compared with 39 percent nationally.
• A quarter say their faith is the one true faith leading to eternal life, about the same as the 24 percent nationally.
• About 25 percent say there's only one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion, compared to 27 percent nationally.
The news coverage is focusing a lot on the aspect that many more professing Christians don't believe that Christianity is the only way to God despite what their churches teach. And I'm not surprised that would capture the most attention of the secular press.
My feeling after reading all of this? It's interesting, but ultimately I don't care what the polls say. Furthermore, I don't care what people think or believe, if . . IF . . IF . . . did I stress that enough . . . IF the implied message is that the church should change what it teaches and believes.
Sadly, I think that's the tack we'll hear most often. A large reason for this sorry state of affairs is that a large segment of the professing church has abandoned biblical doctrine and biblical truth for trendy, faddy theologies. Get back to preaching and teaching God's Word in an uncompromising fashion, and you might be amazed at what God does in society.
And what if we preach Scripture and nothing happens? What if even more people's theology goes out the window?
It doesn't matter. Preach and teach the truth anyway. Those who reject it will be accountable before God. Those who fail to teach and preach His truth will also be held accountable for their compromise or betrayal.
I like the cover art to Keith Green's "No Compromise" album from years ago. (And no, I don't endorse all of the late singer's theology) It's taken from the book of Daniel, where Daniel and his friends refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous statue. They refused to compromise even though everyone else did (and urged them to do).
We need to do the same no matter what societal pressure arises. Truth is not for sale.