Thursday, April 16, 2009

Christianity Astray

As the church lady would say, "isn't this special?

The linked article in Christianity Astray discusses how most "Christians" in the United States don't believe in a real Satan, or worse yet, the Holy Spirit -- a clear denial of the Third PERSON of the Trinity.

Of course, the question echoes in the air -- just how are we defining the term "Christian?" Apparently the definition is pretty loose. I suppose one could argue about the devil (although I think denial of Satan's existence is pretty stupid), but when we begin pooh-poohing the Holy Spirit, that is really a serious matter. The Holy Spirit is clearly seen as a Person in Scripture. He is described as our Comforter, the One who seals us in our redemption, the One who convicts of sin, and the One who is grieved at sin. You can't "grieve" a non-entity.

The long and short of all this is simple. There are essential doctrines and non-essential doctrines. Essential doctrines are the core of the faith, the ones that determine whether you are a true Christian or not based on what you believe about these essentials. And the key essentials involve soteriology (how we are saved), Christology (the Person and work of Christ), and the Godhead (Trinity). Deny any of the essential doctrines in these areas, and that means you are not a true Christian by biblical standards and practices.

This is yet another crying example of how the preaching and teaching of sound biblical doctrine has fallen by the wayside in favor of useless "self-help" and pop fads -- rotten pottage instead of the lush richness of God's truth.


saunch said...

Hey Joel

You'e right; we have to define the terms ahead of time. If you let people define for themselves what a "Christian" is, you wind up with some outlandishly high percentages of Americans who supposedly are believers. I don't trust surveys, but here's one that seems more believable. Barna recently did a survey where they narrowed down the definition to those who actually hold a biblical worldview. A "biblical worldview" was defined as belief in all of the following: that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. Interestingly, their research revealed that only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview. Of those who called themselves "born again", only 19% had a worldview. This tells me that less than 10% of Americans are what the Bible considers true believers.

Solameanie said...

That's heartbreaking, but not surprising. And we owe it all to pulpits that are no longer "aflame with righteousness" as DeTocqueville put it.