George Barna and researchers at Arizona Christian University's Cultural Research Center recently surveyed 400 children between the ages of 8-12 years old and found that only 3% of respondents fully believe the seven cornerstones of a biblical worldview.
69% acknowledge that "God exists and is the all-knowing, all powerful, perfect creator and ruler of the universe." 36% agree that "as a sinner, the only solution is to acknowledge your sins and ask God to forgive you through Jesus Christ." Only 25% say they "trust the Bible because it is completely true and personally relevant" to their life.
"It's increasingly disturbing to see how few Americans have what we would call a biblical worldview, which is kind of the lens through which you look out and understand what is right and wrong, what is true [and] what is false," responds David Closson, director of the Family Research Council's (FRC) Center for Biblical Worldview.
"The fact that increasing numbers of millennials and Gen Z don't have a biblical worldview speaks to a very uncertain future for Christianity in this country," he adds.
According to decades of George Barna's research, kids begin to form their worldview between the ages of 15 and 18 months. By the time they are 13 years old, their worldview is pretty much set.
So Closson reasons that the time to reach every generation is in those early years, including the preteen years. However, he believes this survey shows that as of right now, Christian churches have not done a good job of teaching basic theological truths, which means kids' ministries need to alter their lessons.
"At the age of 13 and 12 and 11, our kids' ministries need to be doing more than just teaching stories about Noah and the ark and David and Goliath," Closson submits. "As important as those stories are, we need to use those stories to teach more fundamental truths about who God is."
This research, he adds, also underscores the fact that discipleship-making and worldview formation are simply not happening in Christian homes.
Barna says America's children are in the process of adopting Syncretism -- the practice of combining different beliefs and various schools of thought -- as their dominant worldview.
"They are following in the footsteps of their parents, only 2% of whom have a biblical worldview, and 96% of whom are Syncretists," the researcher relays.
A person who embraces and understands all seven biblical worldview cornerstones has an 83% chance of holding a biblical worldview, but that chance drops all the way down to just 2% for someone who holds six of the seven cornerstones.
"Christian parents and grandparents need to take these discipleship responsibilities very seriously," Closson implores.