The Pastor’s Piece – May 31, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
June 1, 2020
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried,” (G.K. Chesterton).
It’s amazing to me how someone will not believe in God because they can’t see Him. But will hide in their homes from a virus they can’t see either.
According to Dr. George Barna, director of research at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University and founder of the Barna Group: “Tens of millions of Americans consider themselves to be Christian but do not believe that God is really in control or cares what happens to them.”
A new Barna survey from April 24, 2020, shows that a higher number of Americans believe in Satan (56%) than believe in the traditional view of God (51%) as being “all powerful, all knowing, perfect and just Creator.”
In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Dr. Barna noted that only three out of ten Americans bother to read their Bible in a typical week. He also noted that during this pandemic, “most people are not looking to God, but instead they are looking to their emotion, and the primary emotion being fear – and they are looking to leadership to get them through – primarily the government. God is not at the center of their thinking.”
It is human nature to try to figure out from an internal perspective how to deal with things and to try to understand the situation, and who to trust. Void of God, any situation unfamiliar with our experience will produce fear in our lives. Even with God, fear often prevails, though it should not. “We live by faith, not by sight.” Faith takes effort.
In Dr. Barna’s survey, only four out of ten Americans believe that the Bible is true and accurate in the things that it teaches. When you put together the overall view of God from those in the survey, you discover that “only one out of ten people believe that God loves them and is involved in their lives and has a reason for everything that happens in their lives and are certain that He exists.”
“So by and large,” Dr. Barna concludes, “what we see happening is that people are looking inward instead of upward for the kind of solutions they’re going to need to try to figure out how to treat this unique time in history. Rather than see it as a great time to grow and minister, they are (simply) trying to survive.”
Meanwhile, 51 percent of pastors on Barna’s Church Panel (600 pastors total) said church attendance, in terms of virtual attendance, is up compared to typical Sunday in-person worship gatherings.
The CBN interviewer asked Dr. Barna: “Could that uptick change the worldview inventory trend if more people are in church and gaining a more biblical, traditional perspective of God?”
Dr Barna: “Not likely. When we look at how people’s worldview develops, it begins developing at 15 to 18 months of age. (It is) almost completely developed by age 13. During our teens and our twenties we define that worldview, but after that we basically run with it. So for the most part it is too late for adults – we (the Church) are not really doing too much in developing the world view of children, and frankly as we have done content analysis on sermons that have been preached, we find that people are not getting the full counsel of God. They are not getting the totality of what the Scriptures teach and particularly and not sufficiently in a systematic matter to help them develop a real world view.”
This underscores the importance of finding a church that teaches the Bible. When it comes to where you worship and are taught in the Scriptures, never settle. Always pursue excellence and the best. Your life, and the life of your loved ones lie in the balance.
Last week my wife and I had some business to take care of in Madison, Wisconsin. We finished earlier than expected so we decided to try to meet up with our son and daughter-in-law who live there. They both had work and school to tend with and couldn’t meet us until about two hours later. We debated whether to just go home, but decided instead to wait for them. I’m glad we did.
We went to a park in Middleton overlooking one of Madison’s beautiful lakes. It was a bright, sunny day, although the wind was still a bit chilly. We sat on a bench and watched people launch their boats coming and going from the lake. It was like a scene out of the children’s book, Busy Town. There were wind surfers on the water; sail boats, motor boats, kayaks, canoes, and people fishing from the shore. There were mama ducks with their babies swimming along the edge of the water, and geese flying over. The people were friendly and downright jovial. This was their first day out since the Shelter In Place orders were lifted. Freedom reigned!
We watched as a dad on the bank across from us gave his physically disabled daughter a fishing pole and managed to maneuver her wheelchair down the rocky slope right to the edge of the lake where she cast her line out. He hovered and doddled over her the whole time. It was a moving scene to say the least. Nobody caught any fish, but that did not diminish anyone’s enjoyment.
The whole day was an unplanned and unexpected blessing that came out of a work assignment. We could have rushed home and not waited for our children. But we didn’t. We ended up carrying out some Mexican food and had a tailgate party in the parking lot of the restaurant. Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring the most enjoyment.