The Decline Of The Pulpit: Only One-Third Of Pastors Have A Biblical Worldview

News Image By David Bowen/Lamb & Lion Ministries June 21, 2024
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Is America a Christian nation? That is not a question I hear asked anymore. Maybe because our values and morals have gone so far off the rails that it's no longer considered a valid question. 

Pantheism has replaced theism as the dominant spiritual belief. The philosophy of Nietzsche believes that when it comes to right and wrong, there is no such thing as absolute truth, only personal interpretation. 

That philosophy has now become socially adopted and accepted. The standard motto for right and wrong has become: whatever you think is true is true, and whatever I think is true is also true. Our nation's moral ground has been ground down to such a shallow level that each generation is now being taught everything is acceptable, and anyone who disagrees is seen as a judgmental and intolerant person.

I seem to remember a book in the Bible called Judges that ended with everyone doing what was right in their own eyes. That proved to be a poor choice as it ended up leading to chaos and division.

We Want a King

The book of 1 Samuel was written approximately three thousand years ago, 1,100 years before Christ. In the time of 1 Samuel 8, leaders came to Samuel and bluntly said, "You are an old man, and because of this, you will not be able to lead us much longer." 

They wanted to know who their leader would be when Samuel died. He had two sons, and the leaders acknowledged he had set a good example for them, but they hadn't followed it and so couldn't lead. "We want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations."

Then the Israelites told Samuel, "Choose a king for us!" Samuel was bothered by this request and so did what a godly leader should do--he went to the Lord in prayer. God answered Samuel and told him to give the people what they wanted. God told Samuel it was Him--God--whom the people were rejecting. God also told Samuel to do everything the leaders asked as well as to warn them by telling them how badly a king would treat them. God told these leaders that their choice would not be what they thought it would be.

God was not surprised by the people's demand for a king. Three hundred years before the request was made, God foretold that the Israelites would one day ask for a king (Deuteronomy 17:14-15).

Why did the people want a king? God had faithfully led them through Moses and Aaron, and God placed priests and judges in leadership positions. The truth behind their request for a king was their rejection of God's way of leadership.

That was over three thousand years ago; unfortunately, not much has changed. People today are still questioning God's leading, and believers today are living "like all the other nations" who do not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Worldliness in the Church

It is not surprising when worldliness affects our culture, but what happens when it becomes part of a church's culture? Are we any different than the leaders in Samuel's day?

A survey by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University conducted just two years ago found that just slightly over only one-third (37%) of Christian evangelical pastors hold a biblical worldview. This was done by a Christian university surveying Christian pastors. 

Only a third of them have a Christian worldview! If that is the case, then what view do most pastors believe? The same survey said the majority of Christian pastors--62%--hold a hybrid worldview, which is the blending of multiple and different worldview belief systems.

Three thousand years ago, the people of God wanted to have an earthly king in order so they could indulge in idol worship as they served false gods. They wanted to live and worship just as the surrounding pagan nations did. 

Today, we have the advantage of history, which allows us to look back on that decision to see if it was a wise or a poor choice. History reveals that the decision was disastrous, eventually leading to the nation of Israel being divided into two and ultimately conquered by the Assyrians in the north and the Babylonians in the south.

Modern-Day Samuels Needed

As the world clamors for an earthly king, the church should be a modern-day Samuel and cry out "NO! That is not what you want!" From the first pages of Scripture, mankind has been told to obey and worship only the God of creation. Yet, from the beginning, man has decided to live as he pleases.

The day is coming when the decision of who the king is will be taken away from man. God will place the perfect King Jesus on the throne, and He will reign in righteousness.

Why does God delay? Why doesn't He intercede now? That answer is found in 2 Peter 3 when we are told the purpose of God's delay in dealing with evil is because of His grace. He wants to give people more opportunity and time to be saved and have eternal life. God's grace is a gift, but the time will come when His patience will end.

Why has mankind continuously sought an earthly king but rejected the Kingdom? It's because the Kingdom of God is designed to rule over the hearts and lives of those who submit to God's authority. 

Scripture explains those who refuse to submit to Him are not part of the Kingdom of God. When facing Pontius Pilate face-to-face, Jesus proclaimed that His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus preached that to be part of the Kingdom of God, one must submit and repent (Matthew 4:17).

Submission and Repentance

Submitting and repenting do not allow idol worship. It does not fit in a Nietzsche-like environment where man has the final say in acceptable cultural morals and values. Three of the Gospels clearly describe how the forerunner to Jesus' earthly ministry, John the Baptist, faithfully proclaimed the need for repentance as he cried out, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near" (Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15, Luke 3:3).

The American false god condition is not new. A 2018 Pew Research survey found that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. 

As in the days of Samuel, man wants a king, one who will permit their selfish desires while at the same time promoting a self-absorbent lifestyle, fully rejecting the Kingdom of God. The day is coming when God will say, "Enough is enough!"

Originally published at Lamb & Lion Ministries

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