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A new poll shock has revealed that most Christian pastors believe what they want to believe, a “blending of ideas and applications from a variety of holistic worldviews into a unique but inconsistent combination that represents their personal preferences.”
That’s according to the new polling from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, directed by George Barna.
The results come from the American Worldview Inventory 2022 that contacted 1,000 Christian pastors to understand their worldviews.
“People have many expectations of pastors of Christian churches. One of those expectations is that pastors possess a philosophy of life that largely reflects biblical principles, a perspective commonly called a biblical worldview,” the report said.
“But a new nationwide survey among a representative sample of America’s Christian pastors shows that a large majority of those pastors do not possess a biblical worldview. In fact, just slightly more than a third (37%) have a biblical worldview and the majority – 62% – possess a hybrid worldview known as Syncretism.”
The report said, “Among senior pastors, four out of 10 (41%) have a biblical worldview – the highest incidence among any of the five pastoral positions studied. Next highest was the 28% among associate pastors. Less than half as many teaching pastors (13%) and children’s and youth pastors (12%) have a biblical worldview.”
The lowest level was among executive pastors, where only 4% “have consistently biblical beliefs and behaviors.”
Few openly adopted belief systems such as secular humanism or Marxism, the report said.
But their Syncretism lets then blend beliefs from multiple sources.
Barna’s report continued, “While it is shocking to discover that a large majority of Christian pastors do not possess a biblical worldview, pastors are more likely than other population segments studied by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University to embrace this life philosophy. For instance, 37% of Christian pastors have a biblical worldview, compared to just 2% of the parents of preteens. The incidence is similarly low among other key population segments: men (2%), women (4%), 2 whites (4%), blacks (2%), Hispanics (less than one-half of one percent), and less than one-half of 1% among those who identify as LGBTQ.”
It continued, “One group within the general public that is more likely to possess a biblical worldview than pastors are SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians). The American Worldview Inventory 2021 showed that 46% of SAGE Cons have a biblical worldview, a full nine percentage points higher than the incidence among pastors.”
The report said, “During these challenging times in America, Christian churches have tremendous opportunities for influence in our nation. However, when the worldview of the leaders (i.e. pastors) of most churches is indistinguishable from that of non-believers, it is difficult to capitalize on those ministry opportunities. One of the more troubling revelations emerging from this research, according to Barna, is the worldview of pastors who work with young people.”
“Keep in mind,” he warned, “a person’s worldview primarily develops before the age of 13, then goes through a period of refinement during their teens and twenties. From a worldview perspective, a church’s most important ministers are the children’s pastor and the youth pastor.”
He added, “Discovering that seven out of every eight of those pastors lack a biblical worldview helps to explain why so few people in the nation’s youngest generations are developing a heart and mind for biblical principles and ways of life, and why our society seems to have run wild over the last decade, in particular.”
He suggested it’s another piece of evidence that while the Bible instructs Christians to be the salt and light in the world, it actually is the world that is influencing the church.
Barna suggested perhaps now pastors will “take a careful look at how well their beliefs and behavior conform to biblical principles and commands.”
The survey also said regarding the purpose and calling of life, 57% of pastors hold a biblical worldview, but they are in a minority for seven other categories, including family and the value of life; God, creation and history; personal faith practices; sin, salvation and one’s relationship to God; human character and human nature; lifestyle, personal behavior and relationships, and beliefs and behaviors related to the Bible, truth and morality.
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