According to this recent survey, the majority (78%) of Evangelical Christians believe that “Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father.” – Yikes!
“These results show the pressing need for Christians to be taught Christology….There is a general lack of teaching today on the person of Christ, a doctrine for which the early church fought so hard….The State of Theology survey highlights the urgent need for courageous ministry that faithfully teaches the historic Christian faith.”
I know that survey results can’t be fully trusted. Results can be skewed for various reasons, but the results line up with my general experiences.
For example, when I asked a group “When did Jesus come into existence?” emphasizing it is a trick question and encouraging thoughtful reflection before answering … everyone answered wrong. Most said at his birth. If Jesus did not exist until his birth, then… there is no Trinity and Jesus is not God. That is serious.
It used to startle me how little Christians know about essential Christian truths, but it no longer does. [By the way, in a class, I never want to make anyone feel bad for not knowing things. The point of a class, after all, is to learn! But I try to use thoughtful questions to get people thinking and make a point.]
A contributing factor is that Christians (and others too) just aren’t used to thinking anymore, about much of anything. Of course, there are thinkers out there, but they are too few. Perhaps the survey results would have been better if the participants had considered the questions more thoughtfully. In other words, maybe doctrinal knowledge is better than the survey indicates, but we are not accustomed to thoughtful contemplation and get mixed up about beliefs.
This is a symptom of the age we live in. We live in an age of entertainment, of sound-bytes, of busyness. We skim read. We lack the ability to concentrate. Deep reading is not taking place.
Many of us, myself included, are influenced by this atmosphere. Because of this, we really must see the need to… slow down, think, stretch our minds, eliminate distractions, read books of substance.
Regarding how this post began, last week I offered free access to a 34 page curriculum on Christology. I designed it to (hopefully) work for self-study.
If you want to know more about the doctrine of the “pre-existence of Christ” (that trick question: When did Jesus come into existence?) – see the curriculum!
If you would have been part of the 78% that thought of Jesus as the first and greatest being created by God the Father, learn more about this heresy, or false belief, in the curriculum too.
Rachel Nichols said:
Scary! A lot of shallowness and naivete in today’s churches.
A lot of Christian’s defend The Shack and grow angry if you criticize the theology or question Young’s faith. (He doesn’t identify as a Christian.) It makes them feel good and that’s what counts.
Forget the hymns with meaty lyrics full of Biblical references and theological truths. Banal choruses played at high volumes make me feel hip, cool, and contemporary.
Nobody I know offline reads books. Except my Dad and me. My last preacher knew more about those awful Left Behind novels than the Bible itself. At least his sermons made it seem that way.
We can’t all be smart. But why are Christians trying to become dumber?
Hi Rachel! Your comment is “prophetic” regarding a future post of mine – or I should say we are thinking on the same wave length. I wrote a post over the weekend entitled “Christian…what will you read?” – I have it scheduled for later this week.
I too don’t know anyone locally who reads books of substance about Christianity. It can feel so isolating, and concerning. And I agree that we can’t all be academics/smart, but most are capable of moving it up a notch or two with their reading, thinking, etc.
Rachel Nichols said:
Just finished a good book. Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns.