One-third of the delegates at last December’s National Council of Churches assembly in Miami Beach could not affirm unqualified belief in the reality of God, the divinity of Jesus, or life after death. This startling evidence of the inroads of liberal theology on the leadership of major Protestant denominations comes from the first study of beliefs ever included in the customary poll made at NCC assemblies.
On God, 33 per cent were unable to choose the response, “I know that God really exists and I have no doubts about it.” Most of these agreed with a weaker statement: “While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God.”
The statement, “Jesus is the Divine Son of God and I have no doubts about it,” was rejected by 36 per cent of the NCC delegates, most of whom preferred the answer, “While I have some doubts I feel basically that Jesus is Divine.”
Thirty-one per cent of the delegates could not say with complete certainty that “there is a life beyond death.”
Only one out of four believed “the miracles actually happened just as the Bible says they did.” The largest group (35 per cent) chose the “natural causes” explanation, while 26 per cent were either unsure the miracles happened at all or sure they didn’t.
Questionnaires were filled out by 223 voting delegates, as well as a larger number of observers from church councils, local churches, or denominations. The delegate group was quite representative of the geographical and denominational make-up of the NCC. And those who responded were mostly professionals: 70 per cent had attended previous NCC assemblies, two-thirds were ordained clergymen, and 42 per cent were on denominational staffs. Three-fourths were from major metropolitan centers (somewhat over the national average), ...1
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