Dr. George Barna, a physician attending to the American Church, stands
over his patient. He looks down at her slender body. She is asleep, not
aware that he has just taken a thermometer from her lips. Her face has
wrinkles, showing her age, but beneath the lines is an attractive woman.
He knows she is not fully aware of her sickness. She only submitted to
the tests to prove she was healthy.
The doctor wonders how he can tell her the truth without destroying their
relationship. Perhaps she will reject his prognosis and claim he is only
trying to scare up business. He looks at the thermometer and shakes his
head. The nurse looks at him expectantly (she has relatives in the church).
Her quivering voice breaks the silence, Doctor ... is it?
Yes, nurse. My tests are conclusive. The patient has use of only
10 percent of her vital organs. Her body is racked with cancer.
But how is that possible? She seems so healthy. Church attendance
is up from last year, 43 percent of Americans go to church, and 84 percent
of Americans want to be identified as Christian. So that means
evangelists are doing a good job, doesnt it?
Yes, nurse, it all looks good on the outside, which makes it all
the harder to tell her the truth. Perhaps the most disturbing fact is
83 percent of Protestant pastors describe their congregations as evangelical
and conservative. That looks good on paper. But my tests show conclusively
only 10 percent of American Protestants really are evangelical, and thats
only 5 percent to 8 percent of Americans.
But doctor, what does it all mean?
It means weve got a very sick woman on our hands. Not only
is she sick, but, because she thinks shes healthy, she keeps doing
the things that make her sick. The doctors face turns red
as he suddenly grabs the womans shoulders. Id like to
wake her up and knock some sense into her!