PREVIOUS SERMONS

 
 

FROM SERMON 10/28/18:
 

The State of Theology

https://thestateoftheology.com/

https://thestateoftheology.com/uk/

 

Ligonier Ministries recently conducted their third state-of-theology survey in cooperation with LifeWay. Many Americans, including 3,000 Evangelicals (defined by LifeWay), were interviewed, and the results are unsettling. Most Evangelicals believe one heresy or another, and it needs to be addressed urgently. In addition, the same survey was conducted in the United Kingdom.

 

  1. Statements about God

 

STATEMENT 1

God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake.           TRUE

USA      Disagree: 20%              Not sure: 11%                  Agree: 69%

UK        Disagree: 47%             Not sure: 29%              Agree: 22

 

The Bible tells us that God and His ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30; Matt. 5:48). His law is perfect (Ps. 19:7), as is His will (Rom. 12:2), and only a perfect being can have a perfect will and can reveal a perfect law.

 

 

STATEMENT 2

There is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.      TRUE

USA      Disagree: 18%                               Not sure: 12%                 Agree: 70%

UK        Disagree: 39%             Not sure: 32%              Agree: 29%
 

Although people worship many different gods, there is in fact only one true and living God—the God of Israel, who is revealed in the Bible (Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Tim. 2:5). In this one God are three co-eternal and co-equal persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses all of the attributes of God (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 1:1–4; 8:1–11; 2 Cor. 13:14). These three persons can be distinguished by personal properties—the Father is unbegotten, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son—but none of them is more divine or less divine than the others (Gen. 1:1–2; Ps. 110:1; John 1:1, 18; 5:18; 16:7, 13–15; Acts 2:33; 5:3–4). Historically, another way of saying this is to confess that God is one in essence and three in person.

 

 

STATEMENT 3

Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.         FALSE

USA      Disagree: 28%              Not sure: 15%                 Agree: 59%

UK        Disagree: 45%             Not sure: 30%             Agree: 25%
 

  The Son of God—whom we now know as the God-man Jesus Christ—is God and was in the beginning with God (John 1:1). He is from all eternity and has always existed according to His divine nature (John 8:58; Col. 1:19). Thus, the Son of God, according to His divine nature, is uncreated, and there has never been a time when He did not exist.

Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father (78%) – the heresy of Arianism, condemned at the councils of Nicaea (AD 325) and Constantinople (AD 381) and clearly refuted by John 1.
 
 
 

STATEMENT 4

Jesus Christ is the only person who never sinned.                 TRUE

USA      Disagree: 29%               Not sure: 14%                 Agree: 57%

UK        Disagree: 51%             Not sure: 32%              Agree: 17%
 
 

 The Bible teaches that all people have sinned (Rom. 3:9–18), with one exception—Jesus Christ. Jesus alone obeyed God perfectly and committed no sin (John 8:46; Rom. 5:12–21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22).



STATEMENT 5

The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.        FALSE

USA      Disagree: 25%              Not sure: 16%                 Agree: 59%

UK        Disagree: 32%             Not sure: 33%              Agree: 35%

  
The Holy Spirit can be grieved and lied to (Isa. 63:10; Acts 5:3; Eph. 4:30). He can also speak (Heb. 3:7–11; 10:15–17). An impersonal force can do none of these things, so these personal characteristics indicate that the Holy Spirit must be a person.

A majority of US adults (59%) say that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being – a heresy that destroys the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

 

  1. Statements about the Bible

 

STATEMENT 6

Biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate.

This event actually occurred.    TRUE

USA      Disagree: 20%              Not sure: 14%                 Agree: 66%

UK        Disagree: 46%             Not sure: 34%              Agree: 20%

The four Gospels teach the history of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and they are based on accounts from eyewitnesses who heard what Jesus said and saw what He did (Matt. 9:9; Luke 1:1–4; John 21:20–24). These Gospels all agree that Jesus was raised from the dead bodily (Matt. 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–8; Luke 24:1–49; John 20:1–28). The historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus is so important that the Apostle Paul tells us that the Christian faith is false if Jesus did not rise from the dead (1 Cor. 15:12–28).

 

STATEMENT 7

The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.   FALSE

USA      Disagree: 43%              Not sure: 10%                 Agree: 47%

UK        Disagree: 23%             Not sure: 25%              Agree: 52%

The Bible presents itself not as a record of ancient myths but as literal truth. It records actual historical events such as the destruction of Jerusalem and the policies of Cyrus that are also described by ancient historians (2 Kings 25:1–21; 2 Chron. 36:22–23). The Apostle Paul assumes that Adam was not a mythological figure but a real person (Rom. 5:12–21). Paul says the Christian faith is in vain if the historical events recorded in the Bible did not actually happen (1 Cor. 15:14).

 
 

STATEMENT 8

The Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.      TRUE

USA      Disagree: 41%                               Not sure: 9%                   Agree: 50%

UK        Disagree: 64%                           Not sure: 24%              Agree: 12%

All Scripture—the Bible—is breathed out by God, and His words are truth (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16–17). Every word of God proves true and the sum of His Word is truth (Ps. 119:160; Prov. 30:5), so the Bible cannot be anything less than fully accurate in all that it teaches.

 
 

STATEMENT 9

Modern science disproves the Bible.   FALSE

USA      Disagree: 48%              Not sure: 16%                 Agree: 36%

UK        Disagree: 24%             Not sure: 30%              Agree: 46%

God reveals Himself both in the Bible and in creation (Ps. 19; Rom. 1:18–20; 2 Tim. 3:16–17). Since God cannot contradict Himself (1 Cor. 14:33), what we learn from the Bible and what we learn from science—which studies the creation—will always be in perfect harmony when both the Bible and science are rightly studied and understood.

 
 

STATEMENT 10

The Bible has the authority to tell us what we must do.      TRUE

USA      Disagree: 38%              Not sure: 9%                   Agree: 53%

UK        Disagree: 65%             Not sure: 20%              Agree: 15%

   All Scripture is God-breathed and sufficient to correct us and to equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16–17). “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), and since the Bible is God-breathed and is God’s very Word, to disobey the Bible is to disobey God (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Mark 7:1–13).
 
 
 

III. Statements about Salvation

 

STATEMENT 11

God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.       FALSE

USA      Disagree: 23%              Not sure: 12%                 Agree: 65%

UK        Disagree: 31%             Not sure: 31%              Agree: 38%

 God tells us that we “shall have no other gods” before Him, and He commands us to keep ourselves from idols, which include deities that are not the one true God revealed in the Bible (Ex. 20:3; 1 John 5:21). He is against false prophets and the worship of false gods, and He commands all people to repent and to trust in Christ in order to escape His judgment (Jer. 18:15; Ezek. 13:9; Acts 17:29–31). God does not accept any worship unless it is offered in spirit and truth, which is worship that approaches the one true God through Christ the Mediator (John 4:24; 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:25), so God does not accept the worship of all religions but accepts only the worship offered in Christianity.

Evangelicals believe that God accepts the worship of all religions (51%) – the heresy of universalism.

 
 

STATEMENT 12

Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.     FALSE

USA      Disagree: 26%               Not sure: 7%                   Agree: 77%

UK        Disagree: 24%             Not sure: 17%              Agree: 59%

  Since the fall of Adam and Eve, human beings (except Jesus Christ) have been born into sin. According to God’s perfect standard, “none is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:9–18), and apart from God’s grace, the intentions of our hearts are evil from our youth and our thoughts are evil continually because we do not seek the glory of God (Gen. 6:5; 8:21).

Evangelicals believe that most people are basically good (52%) – a denial of clear biblical teaching (e.g., Rom 3:9-20)

 
 

STATEMENT 13

Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.           TRUE

USA      Disagree: 69%               Not sure: 8%                   Agree: 23%

UK        Disagree: 76%             Not sure: 19%              Agree: 5%

   God does not grade on a curve but demands that we “be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). If we fail to keep even one of God’s commandments, we are guilty of breaking the entire law and are under the divine curse, from which only Jesus can save us (Gal. 3:10–14; James 2:10).

More than two-thirds (69%) of Americans disagree that the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation—and 58 percent of Evangelicals strongly disagree – a denial of clear biblical teaching (e.g., Rom 6:23)

 
 

STATEMENT 14

Hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever.         TRUE

USA      Disagree: 30%              Not sure: 16%                 Agree: 54%

UK        Disagree: 54%             Not sure: 31%              Agree: 15%

  The Bible consistently testifies to the existence of a place of eternal conscious punishment for those who do not turn from their sins and trust in Christ (Isa. 66:24; Dan. 12:2; Luke 16:19–31; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 12–13; Rev. 20:7–15). Jesus Himself talked about this place of punishment—hell—more than any other biblical figure did, and He clearly referred to it as a real place (Matt. 5:22–29; 10:28; Luke 12:5).

 
 

STATEMENT 15

There will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.      TRUE

USA      Disagree: 22%               Not sure: 15%                 Agree: 63%

UK        Disagree: 52%             Not sure: 32%              Agree: 16%

 According to the Bible, a day is coming on which God will judge the world by the One He has appointed—Christ Jesus, whom God raised from the dead (Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16). Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (Dan. 7:13–14; Luke 21:27; 2 Thess. 2:8; 2 Tim. 4:1).

 
 

STATEMENT 16

Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.    TRUE

USA      Disagree: 38%              Not sure: 0%                   Agree: 62%

UK        Disagree: 53%             Not sure: 32%              Agree: 15%

   Since the fall of Adam, all people (except Jesus Christ) have been born in sin and are under the wrath of God. Only Jesus can save us from this wrath, and He does so by His death on the cross, which is a propitiation that turns away God’s wrath (Isa. 53; Rom. 1:18–3:26; Heb. 2:17). Nothing but the atoning death of Jesus can take away our sin (Heb. 10:1–18).
 
 

STATEMENT 17

Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.    TRUE

USA      Disagree: 43%              Not sure: 0%                   Agree: 57%

UK        Disagree: 54%             Not sure: 32%              Agree: 14%

  Jesus is the only way to the Father, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Salvation is found in no one else besides Jesus Christ, as there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12). In order to be saved, we must believe in Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:24–25; Acts 16:25–34).

 
 

STATEMENT 18

God created male and female.        TRUE

USA      Disagree: 13%                               Not sure: 10%                 Agree: 77%

UK        Disagree: 38%             Not sure: 25%              Agree: 37%

   Genesis 1:27 teaches that when God created mankind in His image, He created both male and female in His image. Jesus later appeals to this essential teaching of the Bible to ground His teaching on marriage and divorce (Matt. 19:3–9).

 
 

STATEMENT 19

Worshipping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.     FALSE

USA      Disagree: 30%              Not sure: 12%                 Agree: 58%

UK        Disagree: 21%             Not sure: 34%              Agree: 45%

From the earliest days of the church, Christians have gathered together for worship, teaching, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:4213:1–220:71 Cor. 14:26). While private worship and family worship are appropriate, Hebrews 10:24–25 explains that they are no substitute for gathering regularly with other Christians for worship and encouragement.

A majority of US adults (58%) said that worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church – a denial of clear biblical teaching (e.g., Heb 10:24-25)

 
 

STATEMENT 20

Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.        TRUE

USA      Disagree: 41%                               Not sure: 8%                   Agree: 51%

UK        Disagree: 74%             Not sure: 13%              Agree: 13%

In the beginning, God established marriage between one man and one woman as the only legitimate context for coming together as one flesh in both a sexual and emotional union (Gen. 2:18–25). Traditional marriage and celibacy are the only divinely approved alternatives to sexual immorality, so all sexual activity outside of traditional marriage is a sin (1 Cor. 7).

 
 
STATEMENT 21
 

Abortion is a sin.      TRUE

USA      Disagree: 38%              Not sure: 10%                 Agree: 52%

UK        Disagree: 67%             Not sure: 16%              Agree: 17%

All people are made in the image of God and are worthy of protection from conception to the point of their natural death unless they are guilty of a capital crime (Gen. 1:27; 9:5–6; Ps. 139:13–16). Unborn children are divine image bearers who are living and responsive to the work of the Lord (Luke 1:39–40); therefore, abortion is the sin of murder except when an unborn child poses a true threat to the life of the mother (Ex. 21:22–25).
 
 

STATEMENT 22

Gender identity is a matter of choice.         FALSE

USA      Disagree: 51%                               Not sure: 11%                  Agree: 38%

UK        Disagree: 35%             Not sure: 18%              Agree: 47%

God created human beings in His image as male and female (Gen. 1:27). Gender is not a social construct, but a reality of the created order. We do not choose our gender; it is a gift of God given to us in our creation (Matt. 19:4).

 
 

STATEMENT 23

The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.   FALSE

USA      Disagree: 41%                               Not sure: 15%                 Agree: 44%

UK        Disagree: 24%             Not sure: 24%              Agree: 52%

One man-one woman marriage was established in creation as the only legitimate expression for sexual activity (Gen. 2:18–25; 1 Cor. 7). Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s original design for human beings and is a consequence of the intrusion of sin into creation; therefore, the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is for all time (Rom. 1:18–32). Impenitent practitioners of homosexual behavior and all other sexual sins will not inherit the kingdom of God, but God will save all sexual sinners who turn from their sin and trust in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 6:9–11).
 
 

STATEMENT 24

Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.     FALSE

USA      Disagree: 30%              Not sure: 10%                 Agree: 60%

UK        Disagree: 15%             Not sure: 18%              Agree: 67%

The religions of mankind do not claim to be mere subjective, personal opinions but claim to reflect objective truths about reality. This is particularly true of the Christian faith, which is based on historical events such as the resurrection of Jesus that must be objectively true in order for Christian belief to be valid (1 Cor. 15:1–10, 17). The same God who raised Jesus from the dead proclaims that He is the only God who can save us (Isa. 45:20–25). If this is not objectively and universally true, then there is no Christian faith. As individuals, we exercise personal faith, but to believe in something that is mere opinion and not objective truth is to believe in something that cannot provide salvation.

32% of Evangelicals believe “religious belief is a matter of personal opinion [and] not about objective truth” – a denial of the objective nature of Jesus’ salvific work.

  1. Other statements which were surveyed:
 
 

STATEMENT 25

The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual new birth or new life before a person has faith in Jesus Christ.     TRUE

USA      Disagree: 29%               Not sure: 20%                                Agree: 51%

UK        Disagree: 39%             Not sure: 40%              Agree: 21%

Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be born again before he can see or enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3–5). Even the faith by which we enter the kingdom is a gift of God, who by His Spirit brings us to new spiritual life so that we can trust in Christ (Eph. 2:1–10). The Spirit, therefore, must give us new life before we can believe (Rom. 8:1–11).

 
 

STATEMENT 26

The Holy Spirit can tell me to do something which is forbidden in the Bible.    FALSE

USA      Disagree: 61%                                Not sure: 20%                                Agree: 19%

UK        Disagree: 53%             Not sure: 41%              Agree: 6%

 “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33); thus, God cannot contradict Himself, for that would cause confusion. Since the Holy Spirit is God and since God ultimately authored the Bible (Acts 5:3–5; 2 Tim. 3:16–17), the Holy Spirit will never contradict Himself by telling us to do something that is forbidden in the Bible.

 
 

STATEMENT 27

God counts a person as righteous not because of one’s own works but only because of ones faith in Jesus Christ.  TRUE

USA      Disagree: 33%              Not sure: 14%                 Agree: 53%

UK        Disagree: 45%             Not sure: 37%              Agree: 18%

  God does not save us “because of works done by us in righteousness” (Titus 3:4–7). We are justified—counted as righteous—by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Luke 18:9–14; Rom. 4; Gal. 3:1–9; Eph. 2:8–9).

 
 

STATEMENT 28

God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life.    FALSE

USA      Disagree: 54%              Not sure: 11%                  Agree: 35%

UK        Disagree: 56%             Not sure: 30%              Agree: 14%

   Although God promises material blessings to His people, He says that believers will also suffer persecution (Mark 10:29–30). There is not a one-to-one correlation between true faith and material abundance. Some Christian believers will experience great lack and mistreatment for their faith in Christ (2 Cor. 4:7–12; Heb. 11:32–38).

 
 

STATEMENT 29

Christians should be silent on issues of politics.      FALSE

USA      Disagree: 64%              Not sure: 11%                  Agree: 25%

UK        Disagree: 58%             Not sure: 24%              Agree: 18%

The mission of the church in baptizing and making disciples of Christ (Matt. 28:18–20) is primarily spiritual, but that does not mean Christians must be silent on political issues. The Bible addresses many political issues—including capital punishment, abortion, honest measurements (Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:22–25; Prov. 20:10), and many others—so believers who seek to be faithful to the Bible cannot be silent on political matters where biblical teaching applies. Moreover, Paul appealed to his political rights as a Roman citizen (Acts 16:35–39; 25:1–12), showing us that Christians may make appropriate use of whatever political rights they possess, including the right to speak to political issues.

 
 

STATEMENT 30

Only the power of God can cause people to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.       TRUE

USA      Disagree: 33%              Not sure: 17%                 Agree: 50%

UK        Disagree: 44%             Not sure: 36%              Agree: 20%

   All people (except Jesus) since Adam have been born in a state of spiritual death, so God must first make us alive before we can do what is pleasing to God, including the act of trusting in Christ (Ps. 51:10; Ezek. 36:26; John 3:1–8; Eph. 2:1–10). Unless God by His mighty power grants us new life, we cannot trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

 
 

STATEMENT 31

Churches must provide entertaining worship services if they want to be effective.     FALSE

USA      Disagree: 52%              Not sure: 12%                 Agree: 36%

UK        Disagree: 18%             Not sure: 31%              Agree: 41%

   Effectiveness in ministry is found not in our techniques but in the faithful preaching of the Word of God—the Bible—and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:18–25). While our worship should be intelligible to outsiders (1 Cor. 14), the purpose of our worship services is to glorify God and edify God’s people, not to entertain us (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:24–25).

 
 

STATEMENT 32

God is unconcerned with my day-to-day decisions.       FALSE

USA      Disagree: 61%                                Not sure: 13%                 Agree: 26%

UK        Disagree: 35%             Not sure: 34%              Agree: 31%

God is sovereign over all things and actively governs everything (Ps. 33:13–15; Heb. 4:13). We are called to do everything to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Everything includes our decisions, so God is concerned that our day-to-day decisions glorify Him.

 
 

STATEMENT 33

The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.       TRUE

USA      Disagree: 39%              Not sure: 0%                   Agree: 61%

UK        Disagree: 64%             Not sure: 19%              Agree: 17%

The Bible is the only God-breathed special revelation that we possess (2 Tim. 3:16–17), so it has unique and final authority. Jesus, the Son of God, appealed to the Bible as the highest authority, so we dare not appeal to anything else other than the Bible as the highest authority for our faith and practice (Matt. 5:17–18; 15:1–9; Mark 14:43–49; John 10:35).
 
 

STATEMENT 34

It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.   TRUE

USA      Disagree: 48%              Not sure: 0%                   Agree: 52%

UK        Disagree: 68%             Not sure: 21%              Agree: 11%

Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to be reconciled to God (John 14:6; Rom. 5:1). Christians are to proclaim the gospel to all people, making disciples of Jesus Christ and teaching them to obey all that He has commanded (Matt. 28:18–20;
 Mark 1:14–15).
 
 
 

GOD

STATEMENT 1 God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake.

STATEMENT 2 There is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

STATEMENT 3 Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.

STATEMENT 4 Jesus Christ is the only person who never sinned.

STATEMENT 5 The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.

 

THE BIBLE

STATEMENT 6 Biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate. This event actually occurred.

STATEMENT 7 The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.

STATEMENT 8 The Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.

STATEMENT 9 Modern science disproves the Bible.

STATEMENT 10 The Bible has the authority to tell us what we must do.

 

SALVATION

STATEMENT 11 God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

STATEMENT 12 Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.

STATEMENT 13 Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.

STATEMENT 14 Hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever.

STATEMENT 15 There will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.

STATEMENT 16 Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

STATEMENT 17 Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

 

SOCIAL ISSUES

STATEMENT 18 God created male and female.

STATEMENT 19 Worshipping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.

STATEMENT 20 Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.

STATEMENT 21 Abortion is a sin.

STATEMENT 22 Gender identity is a matter of choice.

STATEMENT 23 The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.

STATEMENT 24 Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.

 

Other statements which were surveyed:

STATEMENT 25 The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual new birth or new life before a person has faith in Jesus Christ.

STATEMENT 26 The Holy Spirit can tell me to do something which is forbidden in the Bible.

STATEMENT 27 God counts a person as righteous not because of one’s own works but only because of ones faith in Jesus Christ.

STATEMENT 28 God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life.

STATEMENT 29 Christians should be silent on issues of politics.

STATEMENT 30 Only the power of God can cause people to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

STATEMENT 31 Churches must provide entertaining worship services if they want to be effective.

STATEMENT 32 God is unconcerned with my day-to-day decisions.

STATEMENT 33 The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

STATEMENT 34 It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.