Barna Survey: Most Pastors Are in A State of Theological Diarrhoea. Yikes!
March 6, 2011
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After skimming through the usual pleasantries of the latest Barna Group report, I was dragged back by the minor ink smudged anecdotes. The new study from Barna Group explored whether the so-called “New Calvinism” has, as yet, affected the allegiances of pastors and whether Reformed churches are growing. Well I do not usually go by surveys as they have more often than not been the trojan horse of pragmatism. Most survey driven churches end up being purpose driven so as to make the end supposedly justify the means.
The Barna survey among pastors noted that:
For the past decade the Barna Group has been tracking the percentage of Protestant pastors who identify their church as “Calvinist or Reformed.” Currently, about three out of every 10 Protestant leaders say this phrase accurately describes their church (31%). This proportion is statistically unchanged from a decade ago (32%). In fact, an examination of a series of studies among active clergy during the past decade indicates that the proportion that embraces the Reformed label has remained flat over the last 10 years.
Pastors who embrace the term “Wesleyan or Arminian” currently account for 32% of the Protestant church landscape – the same as those who claim to be Reformed. The proportion of Wesleyan/Arminian pastors is down slightly from 37% in 2000. There has been less consistency related to this label during the past decade, with the tracking figures ranging from a low of 26% to a high of 37%.
Back to my main interest in the survey. The most worrying finding of the survey however was the anecdote that:
“Nevertheless, the research shows that many pastors do not necessarily conform to traditional doctrinal perspectives when it comes to how they think about or operate in their ministries. In other words, most of the nation’s 300,000 Protestant churches are in a state of theological flux, apparently open to identities and trends that do not necessarily fall within expected denominational or doctrinal boundaries. Given this profile, we expect that new theological, relational, as well as methodological networks that emerge will redefine the Protestant landscape over the next decade.”
So, most pastors are in a state of flux –neither here nor there. Just being blown by the latest fad and the latest wind of doctrine. That surely is worrying. Thanks Rick Warren and Bill Hybels your purpose driven movement has left pastors incontinent of foundational doctrine to the point that they cannot see beyond their next pay check. Their sermons are drawn to appease their already over-fluxed congregation who they have to excite with games, movie based sermon themes and gift give aways.