New research from George Barna says more and more Americans, although most are willing to call themselves “Christians,” are drifting from defined religious doctrine and denominational practices to create their own religion cut to fit their personal preferences. Calling it a “designer society,” Barna says only seven percent of those “Christians” he polled agreed with all seven of the basic tenets of faith as defined by the National Association of Evangelicals.
In a story by USA Today, Barna said pastors are at least partially to blame for this. They say, “‘Jesus is the answer.’ ‘Embrace him.’ ‘Say this little sinner’s prayer and keep coming back.’ It doesn’t work. People end up bored, burned out, and empty. They look at church and wonder, ‘Jesus died for this?'”
In Barna’s new book Maximum Faith, he writes that Christians struggle with four barriers to a deep, lasting relationship with Jesus: commitment (only 18 percent call themselves totally committed to their spiritual development), repentance (12 percent say they’ve been “devastated” by their sinfulness and need for God), activity (spiritual disciplines are infrequently practiced) and spiritual community (only 21 percent of self-identified Christians say it’s necessary to be part of a community of faith to grow spiritually).
Read more about Barna’s new research here.