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Lesson 12

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The well-known church researcher, George Barna, recently conducted a survey examining how many American’s believe their life has been “greatly transformed” by their religious faith. While 51% said their lives had been greatly transformed, the study generated some disconcerting results. First, when asked what it was that had brought about that change, the least influential agent of transformation mentioned was reading the Bible (10%). Family and friends, and spiritual experiences were some of the main causes of change, but the Bible no longer seems to play a pivotal role in the process.

Even more troubling, is Barna’s discovery that “among the individuals who are classified as born again Christians because of their commitment to Christ and their belief in salvation by grace and their personal confession of sin, one out of every four indicated that they had not experienced great life transformation attributable to their faith. That questions the nature of their commitment to Christ. This represents more than 20 million adults who consider themselves to be devoted to Jesus Christ but who also claim that their life has not been dramatically changed by that relationship. Perhaps this suggests that the religious community has become more adept at marketing Christian principles than modelling a genuine, life-changing connection with Christ.”

Barna’s findings should cause concern among us as believers about the condition of the Christian church today. This description, in many ways, seems similar to the condition of the Laodicean church described in Revelation 3:14-22. The lesson this week gives us the opportunity to reflect on this situation as we consider the topic of the Bible and spiritual growth.