While a clear majority of Americans agree there is a God, more than half of American adults, including 30% of evangelicals, disagreed with the claim that Jesus is God, according to a recent survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries' biennial State of Theology and LifeWay Research.
Ligonier Ministries' biennial State of Theology survey was conducted between March 10 to 18 among 3,002 U.S. adults including 630 professing evangelicals to answer what Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible. The survey reveals that 52% of American adults and a third of evangelicals believe that Jesus was merely a great teacher and nothing more.
Statistics like these can give us "quite a shock," Dr. Stephen Nichols, a chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries said. A vast majority of evangelists strongly believe in justification by faith alone, yet a third of them (30%) still are confused about who Jesus Christ is.
According to the State of Theology and LifeWay Research, evangelicals are Christians who "have a great concern for the gospel, the evangel," and who have strongly agreed with the following four statements: the Bible is the highest authority for what I believe; it is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior; Jesus Christ's death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin; and only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God's free gift of eternal salvation.
Dr. Stephen Nichols argues that survey results show the need for awareness for professing evangelicals and biblical teaching at the church. In a statement, he points out professing evangelicals are drifting away from God's standard, and it is a time for Christians and churches to study and engage.
"As the culture around us increasingly abandons its moral compass, professing evangelicals are sadly drifting away from God's absolute standard in Scripture. It's clear that the church does not have the luxury of idly standing by. This is a time for Christians to study Scripture diligently, engage confidently with people in our culture, and witness fearlessly to the identity and saving work of Jesus Christ in the gospel."