The Folly of Following Polls

By Wayne Jackson

We have become a nation driven by polls. Polls are taken to determine practically everything—from what sort of food Americans prefer, to whether or not the president should be impeached. And, quite frankly, many are influenced by what the polls allegedly reveal. Unfortunately, some are so void of personal independence (spell that “backbone”), and bereft of moral integrity, that they simply wait to find out what most everyone else believes before they draw any conclusions. Does the Bible speak to this matter? We believe it does.

  1. The polls would have suggested that Noah was quite foolish in constructing a massive ark as a safety measure against a coming flood—because such an event had never occurred before. History demonstrated otherwise.
  2. Moses wrote: “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2), which, in effect, says: “Don’t listen to polls.”
  3. The children of Israel, as a punishment, had to spend forty years in a blistering desert under the most adverse conditions. Why? Because the “polls” (representing more than eighty-three percent of the reconnaissance team) suggested that the land of Canaan could not be conquered by the Hebrews.

The truth of the matter is, polls do not determine truth. If a poll were conducted, and ninety-nine percent of the American public said that two plus two equals five, that would not establish a new mathematical fact.

But consider the following:

A vast majority of the American public believes that human beings have evolved from a lower form of life. Some who subscribe to this view think there was no God involved; others (known as “theistic evolutionists”) believe God orchestrated the affair. Most folks, though, are convinced we have an animal ancestry. But the polls contradict Jesus Christ who contended that humans, male and female, have existed as such since “the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6-7).

A university recently polled five hundred ministers of various denominations. An astounding eighty percent said that the doctrine of “hell” should not be taught. But the Son of God spoke more about hell than anyone in the New Testament record. What does that say for the polls? Moreover, most people think the vast majority of humanity will gain heaven. Yet see Matthew 7:13-14:

Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leads unto life, and few are they that find it.

Polls indicate that most folks who profess an identification with Christianity do not believe that baptism in water is essential to salvation, but this opinion is not in harmony with biblical truth (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).

A poll of “Christendom” clearly would indicate that a sizable majority strongly feel that “one church is as valid as another.” One may merely select the “church of his choice.” But the Scriptures do not support this view. Only the church established by the Son of God has the approval of Heaven (Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23).

Anyone who has a nodding acquaintance with the Bible knows that truth cannot be determined by counting heads. Unfortunately, there are many—even in the church—who also arrive at their convictions by the “polling” process. For more and more people, the divorce/remarriage issue is settled by what “most preachers” are saying, rather than the clear testimony of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. I have had folks tell me, “If what you say about . . . is true, then most members of the church are mistaken about this.” What is this but a “polling” mentality?

It is good to consult the wisdom of others. But, in the final analysis, only “the rule of law” makes any difference—and that is divine law, not some humanly devised “constitution.” Let us stay with that—regardless of polls.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.