America is a Hindu nation. That is what a Newsweek poll discovered last summer. Even Evangelicals believe certain tenets that run contrary to the very core of being Evangelical. I am not writing about disagreements between Calvinism and Arminian or Traditional music and contemporary music, I’m talking about a denial of key doctrines like the bodily resurrection and the necessity of the gospel. Yes, those same Bible-thumpers might place a high value on Scripture but interestingly enough a portion deny central mores to their faith. The Newsweek article writes,
Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”
It comes down to the point that Bible-believing Christians as a large portion do not necessarily follow the key tenets of their faith. In regards to the trend within contemporary American Christianity, theologian Michael Horton would write,
On one hand, there is the tendency to say, as Luther characterized the problem, “I go to church, hear what my priest says, and him I believe.” Calvin complained to Cardinal Sadoleto that the sermons before the Reformation were part trivial pursuit, part story-telling. Today, this same process of “dumbing down” has meant that we are, in George Gallup’s words, “a nation of biblical illiterates.” Perhaps we have a high view of the Bible’s inspiration: 80% of adult Americans believe that the Bible is the literal or inspired Word of God. But 30% of the teenagers who attend church regularly do not even know why Easter is celebrated. “The decline in Bible reading,” says Gallup, “is due in part to the widely held conviction that the Bible is inaccessible, and to less emphasis on religious training in the churches.”
The American church, in many ways, has returned to a state of illiteracy. Emphasis is placed on nationalism, political action and culture wars instead of the power of the gospel. It is not just seminary students that reject historic tenets of their faith, but a large portion of laypersons (35% according to Barna). Hopefully evangelicals as a whole will begin to focus on the gospel instead of alien philosophy and rhetoric from the Religious Right and Left. There needs to be a reformation within the Church.
I hope I am around to see it.