Religion/Culture Expert Dr. Alex McFarland, Who Speaks to Tens of Thousands of Young People, Says This Generation Is Finding Their Way in Their Worldview and Wise Christians Must Come Alongside Them
GREENSBORO, N.C.—A new survey on how American Christians view theology has uncovered some interesting details about the millennial generation, specifically how they seem confused on some biblical issues.
Religion and culture expert and national radio host Dr. Alex McFarland, who speaks to tens of thousands of young people every year, points to the new “State of Theology” research project from Ligonier Ministries. McFarland is the author of “Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home.”
“This survey gives fascinating insight into the minds of the largest generation in America,” McFarland said. “Since millennials burst onto America’s university campuses and into the workplace, much time and effort have been spent trying to ‘figure them out.’ But this research gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to how they view theology, biblical truths and cultural matters. I speak with thousands of young people each year, and many tell me that when a respected fellow believer comes alongside them during this influential time, they can ask questions that help shape their future views. This mentor could mean the difference between a young person abandoning their faith or continuing on with Jesus at the center of their life.
“Notably, the survey finds that more than half know that abortion and sex outside of traditional marriage are sins,” he added. “Yet half also say the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is outdated and nearly half think gender identity is a matter of choice. These are both encouraging and concerning. Many in this generation are still in college and still grasping their worldview. We can pray that young Christians will remain grounded in a biblical worldview and will not leave their faith behind when they complete their higher education. But unfortunately, we know that to be a true and tragic fact.”
For the survey, Ligonier identifies millennials as aged 18 to 34—the generation that will eventually shape the future of America. “The 2018 results indicate strong confusion among Millennials, and it will be important to monitor these trends in future surveys,” researchers noted. Interestingly, the percentage of those in this age range having evangelical beliefs rose significantly to 18 percent in 2018 (up from 14 percent in 2016).
Key findings of the survey include percentages of millennials who agree with the following statements:
- “Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”—62% agree, up from 53% in 2016
- “There will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.” —64% agree, up from 55% in 2016
- “The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.” —53% agree, higher than both 2016 (46%) and 2014 (44%)
- “God is unconcerned with my day-to-day decisions.” —36% agree, up from 30% in 2016 and 21% in 2014
- “Abortion is a sin.” —57% agree, up from 50% in 2016
- “Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.” —54% agree, up from 47% in 2016
- “The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.” —51% agree
- “Gender identity is a matter of choice.” —46% agree
View all the millennial findings of the survey here.
McFarland is coming off another successful Truth for a New Generation (TNG) apologetics conference this fall near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The events aim to help students, parents, youth pastors and community members to lift up this young generation, pray for them and empower them to stand strong in their faith.