It’s clear in recent decades, poll after poll shows the extent of the biblical ignorance and moral decline in America which has lead to tragic consequences. A new Gallup survey backs up recent Barna and Pew Research, and the takeaways are consistent: it’s not the church or Christians who are impacting people’s worldview and perceptions of the Bible, it’s modern culture.
In a new Gallup poll last week, alarming and glaring issues were again exposed. First, fewer people think the Bible is actually and literally God’s Word. Just 20% now believe the Bible is the literal word of God which is a decrease of thirty percent since 2011.
People are being conditioned to to view the Bible negatively, and merely as man-made rules. At the same time, the religions of Humanism, secular progressivism, LGBTQ ideology, and progressive “Christianity” (the cult of liberalism) are gaining converts.
The fact that God’s Word has virtually been eradicated from the public square is stunning.
The inerrancy of Scripture is foundational to Christianity, and here we have more evidence that deception and falling away from the truth often begins with doubting the inspiration and perfection of the Bible.
Also in the new poll, more than a quarter (29%) of Americans now think the Bible is merely a collection of “fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.” This coincides with a rapid increase of skeptics, ignorance, opposition, and biblical illiteracy.
Yes, the Bible does contain historical details, but is full of extremely accurate history which is proven over and over by archaeology as well as various secular historians including Josephus. But Scripture is divine, not simply historic. And yes, the Bible was written by men: 66 different books compiled by many writers over a time span of 1,500 years on three different Continents – whose author was and is the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21 states,
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture becomes a matter of someone’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
If there is a sovereign, all-powerful God who created and sustains all things, don’t you think He could handle communicating His message through imperfect human beings?
Jesus said God’s Word is truth (John 17:3). Take it up with Him. All Scripture was divinely inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16) and is eternal. Psalm 119 states:
“Forever, Lord, Your word stands in heaven.” (:89)
“The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (160)
But for those who don’t believe the Bible, it can be difficult to use Scripture to convince them, so it all comes down to Jesus. Is he who he said he is? Did he die as a sacrifice for our sins, was he buried, and is his resurrection an actual, historical and verifiable event? Is there evidence available and were there eye-witnesses? Yes, yes, and yes. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 2 Peter 1:16-17) IN fact, Acts 1:3 states that after Jesus was raised from the dead He provided “any infallible proofs.”
Today’s confusion over the inspiration of Scripture is easily understood in a culture that promotes “self” and places emotion over evidence, feelings over fact. They prefer a God whose word is “fluid and therefore, many have created another gospel which the Bible strongly wars about (Galatians 1:6-9).
In analyzing the latest Gallup poll, yet another concerning downward trend shows less people seeing a need for religion. Too many are caught up pursuing the things of this world such as entertainment, comfort, and leisure. You know, they’re having fun living their best life now.
But to them, God’s Word, a relationship with Jesus, the Gospel, repentance, and spiritual things just aren’t as important. Christianity is like adding a cherry on top of their loaded banana split with all the toppings. Life is busy. Religion is something they add to their lives if they have time to squeeze it in.
Just two decades ago, sixty percent (60%) of people said religion was important, but now in 2022, just forty-four (44%) say it’s important in their lives. Less than half of all Americans. No wonder the church is struggling today.
One of the most notable and even shocking findings was on the difference between Catholics and Protestants regarding views of inerrancy. Both groups are in trouble. Thirty percent (30%) of Protestants believe the Bible is the literal word of God (which is awful!) while a measly fifteen percent (15%) of Roman Catholics say the same.
Catholics do have their own Bible (with added, uninspired books containing errors), but a few reasons for this dismissal of God’s Word as truth is because Catholics have historically not been encouraged to read and study the Bible. Moreover, they place much emphasis on the Pope, the Catechism of the Church, and teachings about Mary that were added through the centuries, and church tradition over Scripture.
Next, almost half of all poll respondents chose a somewhat neutral view. Forty-nine percent (49%) said neither the strictly literal view of Scripture nor the fables and legends option were accurate. They said the Bible is “inspired by God, not all to be taken literally.” After all, they reason, how could a guy named Jonah have been swallowed by a big fish only to repent and become a preacher of righteousness? They see it as an imaginative story while Jesus referred to Jonah as literal historic truth (Luke 11:29-30, Matt. 12:40).
Sorry my non-committal friends, you cannot have it both ways. Our assurance, eternal salvation and security depend on the inerrancy of Scripture. This affects how we live our lives.
Gallup also noted some intriguing findings on subjects regarding education, church attendance, and other indicators, but nothing is as crucial as whether or not the Bible is perfect, holy, and divine.
Frank Newport, Gallup senior scientist, noted how stunning this poll is and put it this way:
“This marks the first time significantly more Americans have viewed the Bible as not divinely inspired than as the literal word of God.”
The problem is when people stop believing in God and the Bible, deception has already taken root, and they often end up believing in anything. This is one reason there are so many wacky cults, philosophies (Colossians 2:8!), and religious teachings out there, many of which support a works-based righteousness lacking assurance of salvation.
One more thing about biblical inerrancy and essentials of the faith. This is not a new or recent development. Perhaps you’ve heard the basic explanation of what’s known as “the descent of the modernists” in the American church that began a century ago. These downward steps to apostasy go like this:
- Step 1. Stop believing the Bible is the inerrant word of God.
- Step 2. Doubt that man is made in the image of God.
- Step 3. Believe in the theory of evolution. Everything came from nothing.
- Step 4. Miracles in the Bible didn’t really occur.
- Step 5. Jesus was not born of a virgin.
- Step 6. No deity – these is no God let alone a Triune God.
- Step 7. No atonement for sin – if sin is even a problem in the first place.
- Step 8. No resurrection. Jesus did not really rise from the dead.
- Step 9. Post truth.
- Step 10. Agnosticism or Atheism.
What happens when we deny God’s authoritative word, creation, His design for marriage and family, reject the truth, and cast aside the Bible?
If we’re willing to admit it, it is easy to see how far we’ve declined as a church and a nation as these polls tell a sobering tale of the demise of society via gradualism.
But do these surveys matter? Yes. In past American history, trust in God and living out the Bible – His guiding principles – was known to have had a measurable, positive impact on society and public policy. Not anymore.
I wrote in my book, Redefining Truth, that it’s no surprise the Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” to be their word of the year in 2016. Post-truth is defined as:
“relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
We seem to be caught in the current of post-modernism which denies the existence of truth as an objective, absolute reality. Just look at the current debate these days over what a woman is, which is yet another cancerous symptom of a rebellious, secular progressive society that prefers to think man can be god, there is no accountability, and a person can live by his or her own truth.
What could go wrong?
Stay in the Word, brother and sister, and keep building on Jesus Christ the Truth and Cornerstone of our faith. Secure your foundation and don’t be deceived. God’s word is final authority and can be fully trusted!