And the survey said … No, it’s not Family Feud. Just a survey by Ellison Research who surveyed American adults and asked them “What is an evangelical Christian”? Here are the answers (in percentages)…
What is an evangelical Christian?
I have no idea…..36%
A type of Christian…..9%
Impose their beliefs on others…..3%
Rely on the Bible…..8%
Boy, is that ever bad press. It means that in spite of the countless multi-millions of dollars that go into North America Christian media – television, radio, newsprint, books, magazines, and internet – we are not communicating with our audience. As I have suspected for some time now we are simply talking to ourselves. And, when outsiders listen in we are talking Christianeze and they simply don’t understand us. We are a sub-culture cut off almost totally from the culture we are called to influence.
The evangelical Christian should be known as “someone who believes you need to be born again”. It should be the one thing – the one message – that comes to mind as soon as someone, anyone, mentions the term evangelical Christian.
But, of course, that leads us to another issue – the number of people who are clueless as to what it really means to be born again. These days we have many who declare themselves to be born again (evangelical) Christians who are not even believers. They neither believe the Bible is the authoritative Word of God upon which you build your life nor do they believe that Jesus is God in a human body who came to die for their sins so that through the shedding of His blood they can find forgiveness.
And, if they are truly born again and not simply false converts we find that many of them – although saved – have no idea what that really means to everyday, day-by-day life. They do not understand that God gave to them a gift when they were born again. Tht gift is called ‘eternal life’ (Romans 6:23b). If they have that much understanding – ask them what they believe is the Bible definition of eternal life and they will tell you it means to live forever. Not so! The Bible definition of eternal life is found in John 17:3 … “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The gift of “eternal life” is a personal relationship with the living God now and forever.
And, we have an internal issue that we need to be aware of and deal with – many who declare themselves to be evangelical believers are not – and many of those that are seem unable to communicate what it is they really believe. They have trouble expressing their core beliefs verbally and their life-style is not that much different than the non-believer. As a result, the gospel message is not being communicated.
So, we have bad press when it comes to the world understanding what an evangelical Christian is and what they believe. Our Christian life-style is not being seen (it may be it is not different than that of a non-believer) and our verbal expression of what we believe is not being communicated to the average man on the street. Things need to change and change NOW!
It is time we sorted out true disciples from simply those who are ‘converts’ or those who have said a sinner’s prayer and so think everything is fine when it is not. It is time that we note the true difference between ‘religious Christians’ who have made up their own personal beliefs without too much reference to a proper understanding of the Bible and true believers who base their life on the Bible. It is time to look at the fruit in a person’s life. You cannot judge (or even see) a person’s heart – but the fruit should be visible and evident for all to examine. Good roots (“rooted and grounded in the love of God”) will bring forth good fruit. It is time to get honest with ourselves – take a good, hard, long look and see if we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (disciples) and thus truly born again or if we are simply holding on to a born again religion… but religion none the less. It is time…
It is time to press on past the basics so that we grow up and mature and become what the Lord wants us to be and then do what the Lord would have us do. It is time…