Will Pandemic Bring Revival … or Ruin?

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted April 07, 2020

It should come as little surprise that many Americans are turning to spiritual matters in light of the current coronavirus pandemic. In a matter of weeks, death tolls have surged, the economy has plummeted, and daily life has been turned upside down for millions in the form of quarantines and “stay-at-home” orders.

But will this spark a religious revival, or is it just a rest stop on the road to spiritual ruin?

That question arises in the wake of two recent surveys, one taken before the public onset of the novel coronavirus and one taken after. In the former, longtime pollster George Barna, who now heads the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, surveyed 2,000 adult Americans regarding their worldview. 

“In the American Worldview Inventory, we measure not just beliefs, but also the application of those beliefs—our behavior—because people do what they believe. If you truly believe something, you integrate into how you live, and your lifestyle reflects those beliefs,” Barna explains.

His report proceeds to define that behavior: “A worldview is the intellectual, moral, emotional and spiritual filter through which a person sees and responds to the world.” A biblical worldview is defined as “truth claims and principles from the Bible informing a person’s beliefs and actions.” 

Barna’s surveys have found that over the past quarter century, the number of American adults holding a biblical worldview has declined by more than 50 percent. He added, “Regarding the youngest adult generation, the numbers are even more startling. A mere 2 [percent] of those 18 to 29 years old possess a biblical worldview.”

Barna’s survey was completed in January 2020, just as news reports began to surface about the novel coronavirus.

Stunning Shifts

Mere months later, a mid-March survey conducted by the Joshua Fund, a charity headed by Joel C. Rosenberg, an evangelical Christian author, polled “1,000 ‘likely’ American voters” concerning the current pandemic in relation to God and the Bible.

Among its results were the following: “A stunning 44.3 [percent] of poll respondents said they believe the coronavirus and resulting economic meltdown is a ‘wake up call for us to turn back to faith in God,’ signs of ‘coming judgment,’ or both.”

Additionally, a surprising 22 percent of non-Christians said the coronavirus outbreak has made them more spiritually minded; this includes “reading the Bible” and “[searching] online to learn more about Bible prophecy.” Even those identifying as Christians have been affected, with 40 percent increasing their spiritual intake.

More and more of those searchers are coming to the Amazing Facts International website. During the last weekend in March, “more than 400,000 viewers tuned in to watch Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts International, present several live programs, including Sabbath School and worship services, setting a new record in total viewership.”

As Pastor Doug noted, “The massive viewership numbers for our Sabbath services are gratifying considering the circumstances. Much of our online viewership was also on Sunday morning, meaning we reached a Christian audience not fully aware of the three angels’ messages. We’re grateful for the visitors, and we thank God for this opportunity of sharing His message online.”

What Else Will the Virus Prompt? 

Man holding a Bible

But there is one other fascinating fact from Barna’s survey: The results reported a clear discrepancy between the percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Christians and the percentage who hold a biblical worldview. It would seem that all Christians would naturally hold a biblical worldview, but according to Barna’s research, “although seven out of ten Americans consider themselves to be Christian, just 6 [percent] have a biblical worldview.”

Is this a representation of those “having a form of godliness but denying its power”? (2 Timothy 3:5). What results would Barna find if he redid his survey in light of the current pandemic? At the same time that there seems to be a surge of biblical interest now, might there also be a rise of false religion, false Christianity, people who call themselves Christians but who fail to act as Christians? 

Scripture foretells of a revival of true godliness in the end times: “It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).

But the Scriptures also warn of a false system of worship that will rise in the time of the end to deceive a vast majority of people so that “all who dwell on the earth will worship him [the representative of this false worship], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). 

That is why it is all the more important that Amazing Facts reaches out to those people who are spiritually searching in this time, to point them to the truths of the Bible, to our true Savior, Jesus Christ.

Check out the March 29 broadcast of Bible Answers Live, where you will find biblical answers “about the timeline for last-day prophecies and events.” This is a great resource to share with family and friends!

Please note that the ministry is in compliance with state and local requests regarding social distancing and disease prevention. While most of the Amazing Facts team is working from home during the epidemic, our online presence remains strong. We solicit your prayers and support as we continue to make God’s message our mission!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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