Once again, we’re confronted with statistics that may startle some Christians. The health of the Christian worldview appears increasingly bleak. According to the American Worldview Inventory 2021, nearly half of the millennials surveyed said they either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists. Only 26% of Gen X, and a mere 16% of millennials, understand and believe the basics of the Gospel. In addition, 31% of teens and young adults “strongly agree” that what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society.”
While these trends should not surprise those who believe in the traditional Christian doctrine of the Fall, certain observations of recent Christian and American history might also help explain how we got to where we are. It didn’t happen overnight. Short of a monumental move of God, we won’t get out of it overnight, if at all this side of heaven. In one sense, an increase in religious diversity is to be expected as immigrants bring their religions and cultures with them. Such diversity can enrich everyone’s experience. And for the Christian, the mission field is conveniently coming to us.
But other reasons are not so encouraging. Historically, there have been cyclical assaults on the integrity of the Bible. Consider Charles Spurgeon’s “Downgrade Controversy” as he fought the increasing modernism in his Baptist Union of the late 19th century England, or J. Gresham Machen’s Fundamentalist battle with the liberal influences at Princeton, or the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy’s response to the post-WWII subtle compromise of inerrancy of the Bible, not to mention the current battles within evangelicalism against the erosion of inerrancy.
Second, the seeds of postmodern relativism, originally confined to the ivory towers of academia, have now blossomed into a rampant moral and religious relativism. This is being lived out before our eyes in ideologies such as critical race theory for example.
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