When should we believe polls? Are they true indicators of trends? They do need to be studied carefully to ensure there is no slant that skews the results, but it’s not always easy to know when that’s the case. There’s a new poll out that I would prefer not to believe, yet I sense, from my own experience, that, sadly, it may be accurate.
An organization called the Public Religion Research Institute has found that 44% of young evangelicals—those between the ages of 18 to 29—approve of same-sex marriage. This indicates a clear generational split as over 80% of older evangelicals oppose such a “marriage.” This particular poll offers no explanation for why the younger crowd has departed from clear Biblical teaching, while continuing to call themselves evangelicals.
The answer may be complex, but I think two factors are pretty clear. First, the younger generation has been inundated with the normalization of homosexuality. You see it in almost every television program, particularly popular ones such as Glee. Second, there seems to be a lack of solid teaching; instead, young people are guided more by their feelings. The lethal combination of the adoption of the attitudes of popular culture and the avoidance of sound doctrine is reaping a bitter harvest.
Rather than leading on this issue and showcasing truth to the general culture, the evangelical community is being led into error by that same culture. Yes, Jesus said we were sheep, but He didn’t mean it in that way.
I must admit I’m a little despondent over this poll because I believe it does reflect the true state of modern Christendom. We are supposed to be the ones who help rescue those trapped by sin; how can we do so when we don’t believe sin is really sin? I have sorrow for those who claim they are Christians yet promote sin, and I have sorrow for those who are enmeshed in sin without a clear voice to show them the path to spiritual liberty.
We live in this culture, but we’re not supposed to succumb to it. We have the words of truth, but we neglect to study them and take them to heart. We are in a sad state overall. I’ve been reading the prophet Jeremiah lately. The message God gave him was one of sorrow, a call to repentance, and the certainty of judgment if the people rejected the message. Ancient Judah fell because it turned away from the One who is truth. America is falling. Will that fall be halted? Only if those who know the truth speak boldly and help turn the tide.
It wasn’t easy for Jeremiah. At one point, he wailed,
I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the Lord has resulted in reproach and derision all day long.
But if I say I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name, then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in.
Jeremiah, despite the obstacles, remained true to his calling. Will we?