A recent survey by pollster George Barna is a wakeup call for soul winners. His findings indicate that we are failing to pass on our passion for witnessing. We have known for some time that the coming generation is not as prone to share Christ with others.
Barna`s research provides some insight into their thinking. His survey focused on "universalism," the belief that everyone will eventually end up in heaven, and "pluralism," what people think about society`s increasing mixture of religious beliefs.
In the general populace, 43 percent saw no difference between religions "because they all teach the same lessons." Forty percent believed that, because God loves all his creatures, all will eventually be accepted by Him. Forty-eight percent held the good-deeds-bad-deeds view that heaven was earned by being "generally good or doing enough good things for others."
There was similar confusion about the variety of "faiths" in American culture. Only 51 percent saw it as their responsibility to share their faith with others. Considering the fervor of some of the unbiblical religions in America, who actively push their beliefs, Bible-believers probably come up short, although Barna did not supply a breakdown here.
One major confusion shows up when 59 percent believed that Christians and Muslims worship the same god and 43 percent endorsed the idea that the Bible, Qur`an and Book of Mormon "are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths."
Even among "born-again" Christians, those relying for salvation on sins forgiven by Christ as their Savior, 40 percent believed that Christians and Muslims have the same deity. A full 25 percent of these also believed that all would eventually be saved and that your religion didn`t matter because all of them "teach the same lessons."
With this cultural backdrop, Barna found that young adults between 18 and 39 "were considerably less likely than older Americans to believe that in life you either side with God or the devil; there is no in-between." They "also expressed less certainty than previous generations did about what will happen to them, personally, when they die."
The survey found that the younger generation was not as confident in developing healthy relationships with people of other faiths as the older generation.
The assumption here was that they lack strong confidence in their own Biblical faith when encountering other faiths. Since some of the most effective soul winning happens in the context of a friendship, this was seen as an impediment to witnessing to unbelievers.
Barna sees a "crucial" challenge for today`s Christian leaders in helping the younger generation understand biblical teachings so they will have the confidence to engage the unbelievers and guide them to faith in Christ.
This lack of confidence would also explain the younger generation`s reluctance to use tracts in witnessing. If they lack confidence in the biblical message of the tract, they will avoid any possibility that they might be questioned about that message.
This challenge falls directly on the shoulders of the current soul winners. If we are not mentoring some young people in biblical truth, how can we encourage them to hand out tracts to their peers?
We who agree that America is in trouble with God, need to do our part by personally taking a young person or two under our wing to pass on to them the courage and confidence to boldly share their faith and stand for righteousness.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)