As AFN reported last week, only about a third of Christian pastors in America have a "biblical worldview," as defined by pollster George Barna of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. Among children and youth pastors who are responsible for inculcating worldview into their students, that number – according to Barna's "American Worldview Inventory 2022" – is a shockingly low 12%.
Dr. Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation argues that many churches have not been preaching the whole gospel.
"It seems like the American gospel, for about the last 50 years, has been too much about the free gift of mere faith alone – and … not enough about the responsibility and the obligation to grow and mature as a disciple," the Christian apologist tells AFN.
According to McFarland, even those who know better are afraid to speak out. "Many pastors are concerned about ruffling feathers, they're concerned about job security, they want to be a motivational speaker – and the pew is anemic because many a pulpit is anemic," he adds.
Part of the problem is that schools that are supposed to train pastors in communicating the gospel are compromised, says McFarland: "So many seminaries are influenced by woke ideology – [and] many seminaries are influenced by progressivism and even a tacit universalism."
McFarland says pastors must get back to the core of Christianity, which is the Bible. "The home, the church, the classroom, the media, the marketplace, the judiciary, the arts, the sciences – the Word of God speaks to all these issues … and we must do the heavy lifting of learning scripture," he urges.
Despite the discouraging numbers revealed in his research, Barna offers a note of hope.
"You cannot fix something unless you know it's broken," he shares in a press release. "Other recent research we have conducted suggests most pastors believe that they are theologically in tune with the Bible. Perhaps these findings will cause may of them to take a careful look at how well their beliefs and behavior conform to biblical principles and commands."
The survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center was administered to 1,000 Christian pastors in February and March of this year via telephone interviews and online modes.