Lifeway Research's "State of Theology" 2020 report, published Tuesday, showed that over two-thirds of evangelicals (67%) "strongly disagree" with the idea of gender fluidity.
Only one in five (22%) evangelicals in the US believe that gender identity is a choice. A greater proportion of evangelicals (73%) than non-evangelicals (47%) disagreed with this definition of gender. The survey, sponsored by Orlando based Ligonier Ministries, involved 3,002 adults in the US, including 630 professing evangelicals. The State of Theology is Ligonier Ministries' biannual study done in collaboration with Lifeway Research on beliefs about God, the Bible and salvation. Further examining evangelical beliefs, it found that 42% believe that "God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam."
The poll also studied factors that may affect one's belief in gender fluidity. The study found that Americans in a rural area (56%) are more likely to disagree with gender fluidity than those in an urban area (45%). The study also found that Americans who attend a religious service at least once or twice a month (57%) are most likely to disagree that gender identity is a choice than those who do not attend any services (47%).
The overwhelming majority of evangelicals (84%) also said that it was only by faith in Jesus that a person could be considered righteous by God, whereas a minority (46%) agreed that "most people are good by nature".
Another majority (78%) believed that Christians are obligated to speak out on political issues. Most also saw no supposed conflict between Christianity and science, as only 17% agreed that "modern science disproves the Bible".
The survey also asked respondents if they believe "the Bible's condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn't apply today." The results showed that evangelicals are the most likely to disagree, at 72%. However, the study also found that a large minority of evangelicals deny the deity of Jesus Christ, as almost a third (30%) agree that He "was a great teacher, but he was not God." Also, only 57% believed that "the Holy Spirit gives a spiritual new birth or new life before a person has faith in Jesus Christ." Over half (52%) of the participants thought that Jesus was not God and a similar amount (48%) agreed that the Bible was "not literally true."
A survey last week by the Pew Research Center showed evangelicals were the least accepting of "sex between consenting adults who are in a committed dating relationship" as 36% of evangelical Protestants said casual sex between consenting adults is sometimes or always acceptable. This was the lowest among Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelical Protestants. Ligonier President Chris Larson stated that the results of the survey uncovered "widespread confusion" about the teaching of the Bible and the reality of God.
"Many have observed the drift among Americans toward relativism, and this survey helps to quantify how this nation is abandoning objective truth altogether," he said. "Sadly, just when the Church needs to be clear and bold about our triune God, the Scriptures, sin, and salvation, many evangelicals are evidently being influenced more by this cultural drift than by the Word of God."
"Christians have an opportunity to bring light and comfort to our troubled times by pointing to Jesus Christ and the authority and sufficiency of the Bible. These survey results reveal that there is much work to do." Larson said. "Let us pray for an awakening to our holy God and to what He has revealed about Himself and how we are to live in this world."