Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
Adventist congregations in the United States are only a little more likely than other faiths to hear sermons that include a lot of detailed explanations of Scripture or doctrine. About one in four local church leaders reports that the sermons preached in his or her pulpit "always" include considerable expository or doctrinal material, and the majority report that this is "often" true.
There is no statistically significant difference between the "always" percent reported by Adventists and that reported by all faiths. About 44% of all faiths report "often," as compared to 51% of Adventists. That is a small, but statistically significant difference.
This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.
Seventh-day Adventists rightfully see themselves as "people of the book," but this is not a unique perspective in America even today. In fact, there is considerable evidence that a literal approach to the Bible continues to be strong among a third to a half of Americans. (See Otis Dudley Duncan, "Facile Reporting: The supposed decline in biblical literalism," Public Perspective, May-June 2003, pp 8-11)
1. How often does the sermon in our church include a lot of detailed explanations of Scripture or doctrine? Is it always, often, sometimes, seldom or never?
2. Is there too much expository or doctrinal material? Or should there be more?
3. On a one to ten scale: how clear and easy to follow do you find the interpretation of Bible passages presented in sermons in Adventist churches? (One means "not clear or easy to follow at all"; ten means "completely clear and very easy to follow.")
4. Do you generally trust the interpretation of Scripture that you hear from Adventist preachers as being responsible Biblical scholarship?5. How can we let more people in the community know of the strong, Biblical preaching being offered in our church?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry