Latest Poll Results

During the last semester, Midlands Bible College and Divinity School ran the following poll on its website.

Other than the core Christian beliefs, which is the most important issue facing today’s Church?

Ecumenism  22.7%  (184 responses)
Human Sexuality  18.8%  (153)
Sanctification  15%  (122)
Israel  14.5%  (118)
The End Times  9.5%  (77)
Gifts of the Spirit  7.6%  (62)
Calvinism and Arminianism  4.2%  (34)
Environmental Issues  3.9%  (32)
Church Government  3.7%  (30)

Total votes cast: 812

For details of the college’s latest poll, which explores Bible translations, go to www.midbible.ac.uk and cast your vote.

Dr. Stephen M. Vantassel is tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School

  1. Oh Dear! My choice came dead last, but then I’m not a scholar or a student at MBCDS. I voted early and only once, although I was tempted to “vote often”.

    I voted as I did because it seems to me that some of the leaders of the Church, my church anyway, are bone headed, and even if they don’t govern it, they frequently exert considerable influence.

    If people are willing to share, I should love to know why people voted as they did. For example, on balance I think ecumenism is a good thing; at least, it shows Christians willing to talk to one another. What is it, that makes it issue? I’m a bit old, but I remember Sexuality as being a great gift and delight. What makes it an issue? And so on down the list. As for Environmental Issues, if they are not important, I don’t see how anything else can be.

    If any of the other 29 who voted for Church Government would tell why, that would be interesting too.

    Peter

  2. This is not a comment on the last poll, but the new one. I have not voted yet and plan to wait until much later to do so. My favourite translation is the KJV because I grew up with it, heard it read several times a day and as a result could recite certain parts from memory. The Bible I use mostly to-day, is the REB which is not on the poll list. I realize it is not favoured by scholars, but it is relatively easy to understand and good for reading aloud in church. i like it and am disappointed it was not included on the list.

    Peter

  3. I think our theological backrounds and biases come to the forefront of a poll such as this one. Some of these topics address or are at least voted for on the basis of our current or past personal experiences. For instance, the Calvinist/Arminian issues was voted for by folks who are still caught up in that quarrel. As if it has any significant impact on the future to begin with – which it doesnt.

    Then you have folks like myself who voted for Israel on the basis of our eschatological beliefs with respects to the Second Coming.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her. Ezekiel 5:5

    I believe the above passage states that Israel is at the center of the world from God’s perspective. His focus and attention on a geo-political scale are centered on Israel and specifically Jerusalem in this passage.

    “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” Zechariah 12:2-3

    Again, we have a prophecy about Jerusalem being a stumbling block and a heavy burden for all the people around it. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. I think I have witnessed the US attempt to lift it and the damage that resulted in the aftermath of this failure. I also believe we are witnessing the gathering of the nations against it in our lifetime. Aside from my daily walk and the ministry I have been assigned locally I don’t believe there is anything more important than this crisis surround and emerging from Israel.

    However, our theological pre-suppositions prevent us from looking beyond our immediate circumstance to see what is going on in the world abroad. I could have just as easily chosen the debate over Calvinism v Arminianism since it has created a stir for me for several years but that would be rather subjective and unprofitable. It is clear that the Israeli issue with Iran has the potential to begin the next World War from which things like Ecumenism can emerge and usher in the 1 world government, currency, etc., etc. etc.

    Of course, my vote is an expression of my own presuppositional biases on the basis of how I interpret scripture but I do believe there is objective evidence to support my claims.

  4. I also have a big thing about the Calvinism vs Arminianism debate. For one, I think that many people don’t actually understand arminianism and see it as a salvation authored by man. For a great article on arminianism see the wikipedia entry. Arminius was a two point calvinist, teaching total depravity / inability and perseverance of the saints. Though he did want to see once saved always saved debated, saying that there were some scriptures that seemed to teach otherwise, he also said that there were some scriptures that seemed to advocate the opposite view.

    I also have a huge issue with taking a stand against Israel, not only in terms of touching the apple of God’s eye but also that it severly limits ones exegesis and breaks up the unity of the scriptures, taking first coming prophesies literally but spiritualising second coming prophecies.

    End times is also huge because forewarned is forearmed and we must be prepared for what is going to happen.

    But I voted ecumenism because I believe that within this issue is bound up most other issues, apart from Calvinism and Arminianism and that I don’t believe will effect ones eternal destiny unless one makes it the understanding of election crucial to salvation.

    Human Sexuality is an issue for the Anglican communion and because the Anglican church is deeply ecumenical will eventually bring homosexuality and human sexuality on the ecumenical agenda. Sanctification is bound up in it because if we are fellowshipping with groups we shouldn’t be then we will not be being sanctified by them but rather defiled. Israel is also an issue for ecumenism. One only has to look at the anti-Israel Sabeel conference and one sees that it was thoroughly ecumenical. The End Times is downplayed in ecumenical meetings. Gifts of the Spirit cannot be truly employed in ecumenical meetings because ecumenism is not inspired by the Spirit of Truth. Church Government will come into it somewhere because ecumenism is not unity on the basis of Truth, it is not unity of believers but unity of denominations with all their denominational baggage. It is interdenominational and not non-denominational. That is why I voted for ecumenism.

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