Who Do You Say That I Am?



In Matthew 16:15, after asking the rather oblique question, “Who do others say that I am?”, Christ asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am”?

A recent Barna Group research study revealed that less than 9% of all adult Americans have a “biblical worldview”*. In addition, only 19% of “Born again Christians”** have a biblical worldview. Interestingly, these percentages have remained unchanged for almost 15 years.

Among young adults (the “Mosaic” generation, ages 18 to 23), the percentage of people with a biblical worldview is less than one-half of one percent, as compared to near 1 out of every nine older adults***.

What do numbers like these mean to Christians, to our nation, and to parents and youth? Click through to read more…

To get a picture of what this number means, let’s imagine you – the dedicated reader – as a community college instructor at a large college and that you teach five classes a day of a common elective. At 08:00, two hundred students file in to your room and ‘learn’ for 50 minutes. A front row of young eyes fifteen people across, and thirteen or 14 rows deep. At 09:00 this repeats, then 10:00, 11:00 and 13:00. One thousand young adults throughout each weekday, watching you and listening; taking what you say and processing it.

How many of those students entered that room and listened to what you taught through the filter of a biblical worldview? Five or less. One in every class. In that sea of faces, only ONE young person looked at their instructor and filtered every word and concept through a filter of ancient God-given wisdom that was intended for our betterment. And we wonder! We wonder why youth seems ‘lost’ and afraid, always compensating for something unseen. We wonder why suicide rates are up, why school shootings happen, and why there is so much personal pain in the world as a result of poor choices.

Every time I speak about numbers like these, well-meaning (and perhaps defensive) parents say, “Oh yes, but it’s common while youth are ‘finding themselves’ to question their faith. They will ‘come back’ and believe”. They then quote Proverbs 22:6, secure in the knowledge that the child “will return when he or she is older”. Two points there, first, we already know – from this same study – that only one of nine adults ‘come back’, and my second is related, and that is, “Come back to what”? Other Barna studies have also pointed out that a persons worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of 13; it is refined through experience during the teen and early adult years; and then it is passed on to others during their adult life. Such studies underscore the necessity of parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of children.

Worldview has a dramatic influence on a persons choices in any given situation. Research indicates that there are unusually large differences in behavior related to matters such as media use, profanity, gambling, alcohol use, honesty, civility, and sexual choices where one worldview vs. another is concerned.

Barna put it best when he said, “There are several troubling patterns to take notice of. First, although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their actions. Second, the generational pattern suggests that parents are not focused on guiding their children to have a biblical worldview. One of the challenges for parents, though, is that you cannot give what you do not have, and most parents do not possess such a perspective on life. That raises a third challenge, which relates to the job that Christian churches, schools and parachurch ministries are doing in Christian education. Finally, even though a central element of being a Christian is to embrace basic biblical principles and incorporate them into one’s worldview, there has been no change in the percentage of adults or even born again adults in the past 13 years regarding the possession of a biblical worldview”.

Are you learning every day? Do you pass on what you learn? Do you LIVE what you learn so those around you can be affected by it? Are you part of a church that helps you mature in correct biblical learning (orthodoxy) and then mentors you and holds you accountable while you live it (orthopraxy)? You cannot give what you do not have, and there are a majority of people in our country who THIRST for more, and can be given nothing, because most of us have nothing to give.

I challenge you today; hit your knees, ask the Lord to fill your cup, and then pour it out on others. Rinse and Repeat.

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*For the purposes of this survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as believing 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. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

**For the purposes of this survey, these are people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today and that they are certain that they will go to Heaven after they die only because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior.

***The other group that possessed a below average likelihood of holding a biblical worldview were those people that describe themselves as liberal on social and political matters (also less than one-half of one percent).

This entry was posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 7:58 and is filed under Faith, Family, Kids and Parenting, Men's Ministry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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