Imagine this: It’s 20 years in the future. Our children and students (now well into their adult years) participate in a survey meant to gauge their theological knowledge of the key truths and doctrines of the Christian faith. What might their responses indicate? And for you, when looking back on your 20 years of instructing them, would you be able to say with Paul’s confidence, “I did not shrink from declaring to them the whole counsel of God”? (Acts 20:27 ESV) Why do I bring up this imaginary scenario?
Here is some important news from Ligonier Ministries:
Earlier this year, Ligonier Ministries commissioned a survey of 3,000 Americans in partnership with LifeWay Research. The survey quantified Americans’ theological knowledge and awareness. A combination of true and false statements was used to test participants. The survey addressed core doctrinal topics and issues, such as the Bible, salvation, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, the Trinity, man, hell, and the nature of the church. In our desire to serve the church in fulfilling the Great Commission, these findings help to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith.
…The sanctity of truth is a guiding principle for Ligonier because we stand on the Word of God. While there is moral collapse around us leading to political capitulation, the pressing issue is the collapse in orthodox Christian theology. Our crisis is profoundly theological in nature, not methodological. If we want to see an awakening in our generation, the church must boldly proclaim the truth.
Here is Ligonier’s one sentence summary of the survey’s findings:
This study demonstrates the stunning gap in theological awareness throughout our nation, in our neighborhoods, and even in the seat next to us at church.
You can find more information about the survey here, including a simple infographic and other key findings. I would encourage all parents and teachers to look at this information and use it to assess if there may be weaknesses or missing emphases in our theological instruction. The findings can also serve to assist us in knowing what truths need to be highlighted as we engage with the culture.