LONDON – On April 14, 2019, BBC Local Radio released the results of a recent survey of British adults to determine their views on the meaning of Easter and forgiveness. The results were disturbing. Only 46% of those professing Christians surveyed believe that “Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected at Easter so they could be forgiven for their sins.”
Ten percent said they attend a religious service at least weekly.
On the matter of forgiveness, 76% said they would find it impossible to forgive someone for committing murder.
- 84% would not find it possible to forgive child abuse
- 78% would be unable to forgive sexual abuse
Surprisingly, a majority also found it impossible to forgive stealing, lying, and swearing.
It is sad, indeed, when 54% of professing Christians have no confidence in the availability of forgiveness in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It naturally follows that, if they cannot accept His forgiveness, they cannot offer forgiveness to others.
Ironically, Jesus asked us to pray for forgiveness from Him in the same way that we forgive others. Without believing in the efficacy of the finished work of Christ and receiving His Holy Spirit, we do not have the capacity to forgive others. Our unwillingness to forgive others is an outward indication that we have not accepted His forgiveness of us, nor should we.
Unfortunately, surveys of professing Christians in America are just as disheartening. Each year that Lifeway Research has conducted similar polls (2014, 2016, and 2018), Ligonier Ministries has followed up with a summary of its State of Theology in the United States.
“Evangelicals were defined by LifeWay Research as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:
- The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
- It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
- Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”
It is discouraging to discover that many people who claim that they are defined by those standards believe that
- “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.” (52%)
- “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” (51%)
- “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.” (78%)
- “Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.” (32%)
Trend mapping among Millennials (ages 18-34) who are professing Christians generally reflect grounding in the Word, with these exceptions.
- 51% believe that “the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.”
- 46% believe that “gender identity is a matter of choice.”
Even Lifeway’s 2016 survey indicated that “Evangelicals were surprisingly relativistic as well, especially when it comes to the Bible.”
In that survey, 56% agreed that “the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.” 39% believed that “my good deeds help to earn my place in heaven.” 65% asserted that “God knows all that happens but doesn’t determine all that happens.”
There is a strong indication that many people prefer to hold the Bible up to their own scrutiny rather than hold their own life to the scrutiny of the unchanging Word of God.
Which begs the question that Jesus asked,
“When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
To read more news on faith on Missions Box, go here.
- Sight Magazine, Less than half of British Christians agree Jesus died on the cross to forgive their sins
- BBC Local Radio, Forgiveness Poll April 2019
- ComRes, Survey of GB adults and their views on the meaning of Easter and forgiveness
- Christianity Today, Christian, What Do You Believe? Probably a Heresy About Jesus, Says Survey
- Ligonier Ministries, The State of Theology
- Christianity Today, Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies Revisited by Researchers
- TheDoorTV, Who is Jesus to You?, Vimeo