Unexpected Good News


The current issue of Newsweek contains some unexpected good news. A recent survey reveals that 79% of Americans believe that Jesus was born of a virgin without a human father. Here are few other findings from the survey: 93% say that Jesus Christ was an actual person who lived on the earth 2,000 years ago. 82% say he was God or the Son of God. 67% say they believe the entire story of Jesus’ birth as presented in the Bible. 55% say every word of the Bible is literally true. 52% say that Jesus will return to the earth someday. The poll also surveyed opinions about teaching creation and evolution in the public school system: 62% favor teaching creation science alongside evolution. 43% favor teaching creation science instead of evolution. Other findings: 11% say that American society reflects the Christian spirit and the true teachings of Jesus. 86% say that organized religion has “a lot” or “some” influence in American life. Overall, this is good news because it shows that most Americans are genuinely open to spiritual truth. The fact that four out of five Americans believe in the Virgin Birth and that Jesus is God or the Son of God means that there is a huge opening for evangelism in this generation. On Tuesday night Bill O’Reilly interviewed Jon Meacham who wrote the Newsweek cover story about the birth of Christ. When O’Reilly tried to say that the facts of Jesus’ birth don’t matter because we can’t know what really happened, Meacham replied that unexamined faith isn’t worth believing. He’s right. The whole story of Jesus rests on the factual truthfulness of the birth narratives. If he wasn’t born of a virgin, if he wasn’t born in Bethlehem, if the Magi didn’t really come from the east, if Herod didn’t try to kill baby Jesus, if we can’t believe how the story begins, how can have any confidence in how it ends? There is a direct line from Bethlehem to the cross to the empty tomb. And that’s why the survey questions about creation and evolution are so important. We can’t pick and choose when we read the Bible. If Genesis 1-3 is not true, how can we be sure about anything else? If the foundation is cracked, the whole building will collapse sooner or later. It’s also true that we don’t base our faith on poll results. If 0% of Americans believed in the Virgin Birth, it would still be true. But it is gratifying to know that most Americans have not fallen prey to decades of secular propaganda. As we approach Christmas this year, give thanks to the Lord who came to shine the light into the darkness. A long time ago in Bethlehem, a baby was born. Joy to the world, the Lord is come.

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