Today a friend of mine on Facebook (not just a Facebook contact, an actual friend) posted a link to a survey by White Horse Inn distributed at a Franklin Graham evangelism and Christian music event in August. According to the survey, a total of 92 people participated (45% male, 55% female). 57% were teens between 13 and 19, 29% were adults between 20 and 40, and 14% were adults over 40. I wish more people had participated in the survey, but given the nature of the event where it was distributed, these results are quite interesting in and of themselves.
Asked whether God is like a helpful coach who is there to help us when we need him; he wants us to be happy, 96% responded in the affirmative. I’m a bit mystified by this “coaching” language that has permeated Christian circles. Is it mentoring and/or discipleship? I’d love to hear what you think about sr. pastors who use the title “Coach” instead of “Pastor.” Anyway, I digress.
Other questions in the survey included the obvious inquiries into the church’s relevance, whether it should be entertaining, enjoyable, and fun. 79% of the respondents believe that it is important to grasp difficult doctrines like the Trinity, the atonement, and propitiation. But 26% believe the doctrine of justification refers to our need to do good works to justify ourselves before God in order to go to heaven. Ok, so this doesn’t represent a majority of the respondents, but 26% is a significant portion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the number were larger if the survey were taken by more people. Here is where it gets truly scary, as if all that wasn’t enough. When asked to agree or disagree with the statement, There is no one righteous, there is no one who does good, there is no one who seeks God, 67% choose to disagree with the Apostle Paul.
The results of this survey are not a tremendous surprise, but I think that’s the saddest part of all.