Polls have always had a place in American culture. They help us identify the thoughts, preferences and opinions of people in our society. In years past, a poll would be conducted and then a period of time would elapse before a new one was begun. Now polling can be done almost instantaneously. In fact, by the time a presidential candidate finishes a speech, a new opinion poll has already been conducted.
Polls can be helpful and predictive. Unfortunately, they are often used to define truth. If a poll supports a position, then it must be true. NOT! For example, a recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life indicates that 70 percent of Americans “affiliated with a religious tradition” believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. So what? Just because a majority of Americans believe it does not make it reality. Reality is based on the truth of the inerrant and infallible Word of the living God.
Another prominent opinion poll indicates that even a majority of evangelicals believe that there are many ways to God and eternal life. An attendant opinion held by many is that in the end, every person will ultimately go to Heaven. Inclusivism and universalism are the names attached to such nonsense.
How do we who believe the Bible to be the measure of all truth respond to the majority opinion? A good place to start is to settle on whose opinion counts. In the end, I find polls fascinating and helpful to understand people, but on judgment day, the only opinion that counts is God’s. He gives us advance knowledge of His truth in Scripture. There is only one way to eternal life, and that is by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period! End of story!
The same poll states that only 59 percent of Americans believe in Hell, while 74 percent believe in Heaven. I don’t think God is swayed by any opinion poll. The last verse of Revelation 20 says that those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. The last verse of Revelation 21 states that only those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life will enjoy an eternity in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are both real. What we do with Jesus settles our destiny.
I could go on citing polls and the truth of Scripture to counter them. But it is more important to admonish us to live by the truth of God’s Word-not polls. We do not need to be swayed or tossed about because of human opinion.
My second point would be to preachers. Preach the whole truth. While “help” sermons can be valuable, it is absolutely crucial that we preach the great eternal doctrines of the Bible. We often spend so much time telling people how to survive Earth that we fail to prepare them for eternity. I would propose that truths about judgment, Hell, Heaven, eternal rewards and eternal punishment are missing from the pulpits of many churches.
The host of a long running television show based on polling of the studio audience declares, “The survey says!” For me, I am far more interested in hearing what “The Bible says!” In fact, my eternity is staked on it.