I was reading the results of a recent LifeWay Research survey in which 1000 American Protestant pastors were asked whether they believe that man is the product of creation or of evolution. They were also questioned as to whether they believe Adam and Eve are literal people, and whether or not the earth is approximately 6000 years old. This approximation of the age of the current earth can be arrived at by using a series of genealogies and life spans as recorded in the Bible.
This report really got my attention since those questions speak to how much pastors believe what the Bible says. Of course, I can’t address all three of these issues in the space I normally devote to a blog post. If you want to, you can click on the link above and read the results of the entire survey. I will limit my discussion to the subject of creation and evolution.
In the survey, the pastors were asked to respond to this question: “I believe God used evolution to create people.” To this statement, 73 percent of pastors disagree, 64 of them strongly disagree and 8 percent of them somewhat disagree. Twelve percent somewhat agree that God used evolution, another 12 percent strongly agree, and four percent are unsure.
Did I mention that those who were surveyed are American Protestant pastors? That means they are men and women who preach and teach the Bible. What they believe about the Bible greatly influences what their followers believe. Furthermore, all reputable versions of the Bible give but one explanation as to how the human race came about or how our world came about.
“In the beginning God created the heaven, and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). That’s the very first verse of the Bible. And every other passage in the Bible that addresses how our world came about is consistent with that very first verse of the Bible. Moreover, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them," the Bible declares" (verse 27).
Even though, according to the results of the survey, 73 percent of pastors either strongly agree or somewhat agree that God created people, I still see the message of the survey as unsettling. The findings speak to the authority—or the lack thereof—many pastors attribute to the Scriptures. And based on the survey, 27 percent, more than one out of every four American Protestant pastors, do not believe God created people or are unsure—even though the Bible repeatedly says He did!
According to the survey, about one in five pastors agree that most of their congregation believe in evolution. But—only about a third of pastors teach on creationism and evolution more than once a year. So there’s the catch 22: People need to hear about creationism in order to believe it, but pastors must believe it before they will preach it.
Copyright ©2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.