Study: Faith is NOT tops in Survey

Integration of life and faith really seems to be the rub church leaders face.  However, most church leaders, according to researcher George Barna, rate their members far higher than the members rate themselves.  Only 16 percent surveyed put their faith at the top of the list.  (Read the entire article Many Americans Unbalanced in Faith, Lifestyle, Says Study at Christian Post.)

“It seems as if God is in, but living for God is not,” said Barna. “Many Americans are living a dual life – one filled with good feelings about God and faith, corroborated by some simple religious practices, and another in which they believe they are in control of their own destiny and operate apart from Him.”

The researcher further noted that only one out of four who say their faith has “greatly transformed” their life placed their faith practices and pursuits as their highest life priority. Many deem themselves spiritual and greatly transformed by their faith, but have yet to put their faith into practice.

The great disconnect lies in what I think has been the imparting of knowledge (having right teaching) devoid of an emphasis of practicing right living  The reasoning concludes one could teach something he doesn’t live, as long as what he is teaching is true or correct.

What I see is a need for both truth in word and in deed.  Leadership in our local churches needs a dose of modeling the very character traits we teach.  Transformation counts.  And us leaders need to know transformation in our own lives and lead from there, not just in theories or examples of dead preachers from the 17th and 18th century or earlier.

It seems that even having transformation is not enough.  Indeed, we must walk a fine line between legalism on one end and license on the other.  Our culture obviously feels we are in control.  As Americans, living faith under a God who is sovereign is problematic.  We do not like submission.  We do not like communal creeds.  It is all about individuality.

My main point here is that our culture and our faith exist in dualities as Barna expresses.  How do we transcend this?

Read more from researcher Barna here.

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

12 comments

  1. I see that this is a symptom of a deeper issue. I have actually been told to my face, “I don’t care about Jesus, or what He wants with my life; I have prayed the prayer and I am going to heaven, that is all I care about.” This is simple heresy.
    The gospel of personal salvation is not a scriptural concept. The gospel that Jesus preached was that of the coming rule and reign of God; an invitation to live life with God.

    The disconnect between faith and life comes prior to the “justification” event in the spiritual journey of the christian. It is inherent in the perverted form of the gospel that we (I include myself in this) have been given.

  2. I see that this is a symptom of a deeper issue. I have actually been told to my face, “I don’t care about Jesus, or what He wants with my life; I have prayed the prayer and I am going to heaven, that is all I care about.” This is simple heresy.
    The gospel of personal salvation is not a scriptural concept. The gospel that Jesus preached was that of the coming rule and reign of God; an invitation to live life with God.

    The disconnect between faith and life comes prior to the “justification” event in the spiritual journey of the christian. It is inherent in the perverted form of the gospel that we (I include myself in this) have been given.

  3. I see that this is a symptom of a deeper issue. I have actually been told to my face, “I don’t care about Jesus, or what He wants with my life; I have prayed the prayer and I am going to heaven, that is all I care about.” This is simple heresy.
    The gospel of personal salvation is not a scriptural concept. The gospel that Jesus preached was that of the coming rule and reign of God; an invitation to live life with God.

    The disconnect between faith and life comes prior to the “justification” event in the spiritual journey of the christian. It is inherent in the perverted form of the gospel that we (I include myself in this) have been given.

  4. I see that this is a symptom of a deeper issue. I have actually been told to my face, “I don’t care about Jesus, or what He wants with my life; I have prayed the prayer and I am going to heaven, that is all I care about.” This is simple heresy.
    The gospel of personal salvation is not a scriptural concept. The gospel that Jesus preached was that of the coming rule and reign of God; an invitation to live life with God.

    The disconnect between faith and life comes prior to the “justification” event in the spiritual journey of the christian. It is inherent in the perverted form of the gospel that we (I include myself in this) have been given.

  5. Hi Steve,
    I do not think there is a heresy issue here, just some semantics. Plainly, we cannot earn our salvation or justification. This has been debated over the centuries, of course. No where is “praying a prayer” a magic bullet for salvation, either–on that I concurr. Some might perceive this is what they have been taught, but really the issue is being born again. Now, “Lordship Salvation” is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us. So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives. Paul asks, “Should I sin more so grace might increase?” This attitude among Christians transcends our culture and era and was addressed in Romans 5-8.

    I appreciate the conversation!

    Rich

  6. Hi Steve,
    I do not think there is a heresy issue here, just some semantics. Plainly, we cannot earn our salvation or justification. This has been debated over the centuries, of course. No where is “praying a prayer” a magic bullet for salvation, either–on that I concurr. Some might perceive this is what they have been taught, but really the issue is being born again. Now, “Lordship Salvation” is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us. So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives. Paul asks, “Should I sin more so grace might increase?” This attitude among Christians transcends our culture and era and was addressed in Romans 5-8.

    I appreciate the conversation!

    Rich

  7. Hi Steve,
    I do not think there is a heresy issue here, just some semantics. Plainly, we cannot earn our salvation or justification. This has been debated over the centuries, of course. No where is “praying a prayer” a magic bullet for salvation, either–on that I concurr. Some might perceive this is what they have been taught, but really the issue is being born again. Now, “Lordship Salvation” is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us. So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives. Paul asks, “Should I sin more so grace might increase?” This attitude among Christians transcends our culture and era and was addressed in Romans 5-8.

    I appreciate the conversation!

    Rich

  8. Hi Steve,
    I do not think there is a heresy issue here, just some semantics. Plainly, we cannot earn our salvation or justification. This has been debated over the centuries, of course. No where is “praying a prayer” a magic bullet for salvation, either–on that I concurr. Some might perceive this is what they have been taught, but really the issue is being born again. Now, “Lordship Salvation” is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us. So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives. Paul asks, “Should I sin more so grace might increase?” This attitude among Christians transcends our culture and era and was addressed in Romans 5-8.

    I appreciate the conversation!

    Rich

  9. “I do not think there is a heresy issue here”
    Maybe not… but I am prone to fits of inflamatory language!

    …and I have been influenced by A. W. Tozer who refered to this as the modern heresy, so sometimes I use that word. I would say that it is certainly a gross misrepresentation of the gospel to say that “Jesus died on a cross so that I could go to heaven when I die.” This would be similar to describing my wife as “possessing two arms, two legs, a body and a head.” …accurate in a way that lacks meaning, truth and practical importance.

    “we cannot earn our salvation or justification”

    I would wholeheartedly concur… and then ask the question, “is it possible to be ‘saved’ or ‘justified’ and have absolutely no response?” (Don’t forget the words of our brother James)

    “but really the issue is being born again.”

    McLaren’s Neo has a great hermeneutic for the John 3 passage.

    “Now, ‘Lordship Salvation’ is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us.”

    I confess that I am not well read on the concept’s behind the “Lordship Salvation” understanding. I would say that I would not refer to salvation as being a result of “accepting propitiation;” the concept is simply too intellectually challenging (and perhaps even contrived) for many to understand, and assumes a legal knowledge that many do not possess. Do we really believe that God would sentence people without the intelligence to understand medeival concepts of the doctrine of atonement to burn in hell for eternity?

    I would rather say that anyone who is accepting Jesus invitation to “follow,” is entering a relationship with him, committing their life to him, believing* in him, etc. is really saved.

    “So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives.”

    How do you interpret the following words of Jesus?

    Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 14:27, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:19, John 15:2, Matthew 5:13, Matthew 3:8-10 (John the Baptist)

    I, too, appreciate the conversation!

    *The bigger issue is how do we use the words we speak. The word “believe” has a very practical everyday meaning, but it has a competely different meaning when we use it in the same sentence as the word “Jesus.” The same is true of words like, trust, know, follow, commit, love, and others; we “spiritualize” the words to the point where they lack meaning.

  10. “I do not think there is a heresy issue here”
    Maybe not… but I am prone to fits of inflamatory language!

    …and I have been influenced by A. W. Tozer who refered to this as the modern heresy, so sometimes I use that word. I would say that it is certainly a gross misrepresentation of the gospel to say that “Jesus died on a cross so that I could go to heaven when I die.” This would be similar to describing my wife as “possessing two arms, two legs, a body and a head.” …accurate in a way that lacks meaning, truth and practical importance.

    “we cannot earn our salvation or justification”

    I would wholeheartedly concur… and then ask the question, “is it possible to be ‘saved’ or ‘justified’ and have absolutely no response?” (Don’t forget the words of our brother James)

    “but really the issue is being born again.”

    McLaren’s Neo has a great hermeneutic for the John 3 passage.

    “Now, ‘Lordship Salvation’ is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us.”

    I confess that I am not well read on the concept’s behind the “Lordship Salvation” understanding. I would say that I would not refer to salvation as being a result of “accepting propitiation;” the concept is simply too intellectually challenging (and perhaps even contrived) for many to understand, and assumes a legal knowledge that many do not possess. Do we really believe that God would sentence people without the intelligence to understand medeival concepts of the doctrine of atonement to burn in hell for eternity?

    I would rather say that anyone who is accepting Jesus invitation to “follow,” is entering a relationship with him, committing their life to him, believing* in him, etc. is really saved.

    “So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives.”

    How do you interpret the following words of Jesus?

    Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 14:27, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:19, John 15:2, Matthew 5:13, Matthew 3:8-10 (John the Baptist)

    I, too, appreciate the conversation!

    *The bigger issue is how do we use the words we speak. The word “believe” has a very practical everyday meaning, but it has a competely different meaning when we use it in the same sentence as the word “Jesus.” The same is true of words like, trust, know, follow, commit, love, and others; we “spiritualize” the words to the point where they lack meaning.

  11. “I do not think there is a heresy issue here”
    Maybe not… but I am prone to fits of inflamatory language!

    …and I have been influenced by A. W. Tozer who refered to this as the modern heresy, so sometimes I use that word. I would say that it is certainly a gross misrepresentation of the gospel to say that “Jesus died on a cross so that I could go to heaven when I die.” This would be similar to describing my wife as “possessing two arms, two legs, a body and a head.” …accurate in a way that lacks meaning, truth and practical importance.

    “we cannot earn our salvation or justification”

    I would wholeheartedly concur… and then ask the question, “is it possible to be ‘saved’ or ‘justified’ and have absolutely no response?” (Don’t forget the words of our brother James)

    “but really the issue is being born again.”

    McLaren’s Neo has a great hermeneutic for the John 3 passage.

    “Now, ‘Lordship Salvation’ is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us.”

    I confess that I am not well read on the concept’s behind the “Lordship Salvation” understanding. I would say that I would not refer to salvation as being a result of “accepting propitiation;” the concept is simply too intellectually challenging (and perhaps even contrived) for many to understand, and assumes a legal knowledge that many do not possess. Do we really believe that God would sentence people without the intelligence to understand medeival concepts of the doctrine of atonement to burn in hell for eternity?

    I would rather say that anyone who is accepting Jesus invitation to “follow,” is entering a relationship with him, committing their life to him, believing* in him, etc. is really saved.

    “So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives.”

    How do you interpret the following words of Jesus?

    Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 14:27, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:19, John 15:2, Matthew 5:13, Matthew 3:8-10 (John the Baptist)

    I, too, appreciate the conversation!

    *The bigger issue is how do we use the words we speak. The word “believe” has a very practical everyday meaning, but it has a competely different meaning when we use it in the same sentence as the word “Jesus.” The same is true of words like, trust, know, follow, commit, love, and others; we “spiritualize” the words to the point where they lack meaning.

  12. “I do not think there is a heresy issue here”
    Maybe not… but I am prone to fits of inflamatory language!

    …and I have been influenced by A. W. Tozer who refered to this as the modern heresy, so sometimes I use that word. I would say that it is certainly a gross misrepresentation of the gospel to say that “Jesus died on a cross so that I could go to heaven when I die.” This would be similar to describing my wife as “possessing two arms, two legs, a body and a head.” …accurate in a way that lacks meaning, truth and practical importance.

    “we cannot earn our salvation or justification”

    I would wholeheartedly concur… and then ask the question, “is it possible to be ‘saved’ or ‘justified’ and have absolutely no response?” (Don’t forget the words of our brother James)

    “but really the issue is being born again.”

    McLaren’s Neo has a great hermeneutic for the John 3 passage.

    “Now, ‘Lordship Salvation’ is a heresy in my opinion. This is where we put conditions on what it is to be really saved, even after having accepted Christ’s propitiation for us.”

    I confess that I am not well read on the concept’s behind the “Lordship Salvation” understanding. I would say that I would not refer to salvation as being a result of “accepting propitiation;” the concept is simply too intellectually challenging (and perhaps even contrived) for many to understand, and assumes a legal knowledge that many do not possess. Do we really believe that God would sentence people without the intelligence to understand medeival concepts of the doctrine of atonement to burn in hell for eternity?

    I would rather say that anyone who is accepting Jesus invitation to “follow,” is entering a relationship with him, committing their life to him, believing* in him, etc. is really saved.

    “So, I believe that there are many redeemed people living fruitless lives.”

    How do you interpret the following words of Jesus?

    Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 14:27, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:19, John 15:2, Matthew 5:13, Matthew 3:8-10 (John the Baptist)

    I, too, appreciate the conversation!

    *The bigger issue is how do we use the words we speak. The word “believe” has a very practical everyday meaning, but it has a competely different meaning when we use it in the same sentence as the word “Jesus.” The same is true of words like, trust, know, follow, commit, love, and others; we “spiritualize” the words to the point where they lack meaning.

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