Q.

How should believers Biblically treat all the public opinion polls we’re being bombarded with these days?

A.
Polls, while they can be bothersome and skewed, are not necessarily the problem. Sometimes important information can be gleaned from them. The overriding problem is that churches and Christians, like Pontius Pilate, can easily be steered and pushed by opinion rather than truth. With human nature as it is, people love to be in sync with other people. That includes believers in Christ. It seems that in an attempt to grasp some sort of convenient and acceptable standard to follow, the unbelieving world gravitates to prevailing opinions or whims. Whatever sells at the moment is what goes. Unfortunately public opinion is often wrong, since we live in a sin-cursed world. Even in Bible-believing churches we often see potential for error. The constant flow of practices and philosophies presented to us can be based upon prevailing opinion, and opinion is not necessarily based on truth. Therefore, we must always test opinion against the Scriptures.

As we study the letters of the apostle Paul, we see that he offered helpful insight into the matter of human views. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 he wrote, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Right off, we see that human opinions are in jeopardy. Public opinion in itself is not fit to deal with the things of God.

Further Paul mentioned in chapter 4 that the believer can be protected from human viewpoint when it conflicts with Scripture: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. . . . He who judges me is the Lord” (vv. 3, 4). Public evaluation is a mix of potentially many views, and often none of them are in harmony with spiritual reality. The issue is, What does God think?

If you have a good memory of your childhood and teen years, you may remember the struggle that takes place over the weight of peers’ views. Therefore, those of us who are parents, teachers, and leaders need to effectively convey the supremacy of divine viewpoint over human opinions and the need to reject what is not Biblical. If kids can learn that lesson while growing up, it will help them immensely later. Nations, leaders, and politicians also struggle with bending to public opinion over truth, and we as Christians need to voice tins problem when fulfilling our duty to pray for them.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (July 2003).
© 2003 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.