Attending Church and Understanding Basic Christian Doctrine
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In the 2011 article “Southern Baptists must learn to ‘choose our battles wisely’,” Quarles explains that Southern Baptists are not ones to shy away from getting into a good fight. But even as they battle wits on the sensitive issue that is Calvinism, they are bound to be choosing to engage in the wrong fight. Like the wise war general, Southern Baptists need to wake up to the fact that fighting over divine mysteries that they can hardly hope to understand more of is not as important as renewing their commitment to the old fight – the battle for the Bible. And there is good reason to go back to the basics: there is an entire generation of people calling themselves Christians who sit in churches and yet are utterly unaware of the most fundamental tenets of the Bible.
Some of the essential gospel truths that some of today’s generation of Christians are unaware of include the fact that humanity has a sinful and lost condition, Jesus Christ is God, and that He is deemed the Savior of all mankind because he died on the cross for our sins. All people claiming salvation, then, must be born again in Him and have faith that He has redeemed them from sin and, consequently, death or damnation. Indeed, a worrying 25% of the surveyed students had no idea that Christianity has as a core claim the fact that Jesus literary rose from the dead – this despite the fact that 90% of them claimed to be Christians, and about 60% were brought up in the Southern Baptist churches (Quarles, 2011).
The null hypotheses in answering the research question “Is there a relationship between frequency of church attendance and the level of understanding basic Christian doctrine?”, then, would be “The higher the frequency of church attendance, the higher the level of understanding of basic Christian doctrine” and “The lower the frequency of church attendance, the lower the level of understanding of basic Christian doctrine.” The alternate hypothesis, on the other hand, would be “The frequency of church attendance does not necessarily imply a corresponding rise or drop in the level of understanding of basic Christian doctrine.” In my opinion, the alternate hypothesis would hold true because not all churchgoers head into church with the clear will and intent to learn about the Word of God. A sense of obligation and socialization may drive most of the younger generation there. But those truly interested in learning the essential tenets of Christianity actively learn from their Bibles before supplementing that knowledge with teaching in Churches.
Quarles, C. (2011, August 18). Southern Baptists must learn to ‘choose our battles wisely.’ [Louisiana] Baptist Message.
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