SANFORD, FL – Americans are becoming theologically and spiritually weaker. It is more and more obvious as we read and watch the daily news, and as researchers publish survey results that measure our changing perspectives on all things moral and Biblical.
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research collaborate every two years to monitor “The State of Theology.” This year’s results are in. They are not encouraging – especially compared against previous years. The report itself concludes that, in 2020, there is “widespread confusion in the United States about the Bible’s teaching.”
Respondents were asked whether that agree or disagree with the statements that
“Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.” (His deity)
- 63% of all adults replied that they either agree (51%) or are not sure (18%).
- 34% of evangelicals replied that they either agree (30%) or are not sure (4%).
“God chose the people he would save before he created the world.” (His sovereignty)
- 73% of all adults replied that they either disagree (50%) or are not sure (23%).
- 61% of evangelicals replied that they either disagree (44%) or are not sure (17%).
Historical Responses – All Adults
“The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.”
- In 2020, 59% either agree (48%) or are not sure (11%).
- In 2014, only 51% had either agreed (47%) or were not sure (10%). This is a change of 8 basis points and a 15% increase.
“Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not objective truth.”
- In 2020, 66% either agree (54%) or are not sure (12%).
- In 2014, 70% had either agreed (60%) or were not sure (10%). This is a change of 4 basis points and a 6% change among those who agreed.
Historical Responses – Professing Evangelicals
“Modern science disproves the Bible.”
- In 2020, 26% either agree (17%) or are not sure (9%).
- In 2018, 33% either agreed (25%) or were not sure (8%). This is a change of 7 basis points and a 27% change among those who agreed.
“Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”
- In 2020, 51% either agree (46%) or are not sure (5%).
- In 2018, 55% either agreed (55%) or were not sure (3%). This is a change of 4 basis points and a 7.8% change overall.
“God counts a person as righteous, not because of one’s works but only because of one’s faith in Jesus Christ.”
- In 2020, 88% either agree (84%) or are not sure (4%).
- In 2018, 93% either agreed (91%) or were not sure (2%). This is a change of 5 basis points and a 5.6% change overall.
“God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”
- In 2020, 51% either agree (42%) or are not sure (9%).
- In 2018, 58% either agreed (51%) or were not sure (14%). This is a change of 7 basis points and a 13.7% change overall.
“Gender identity is a matter of choice.”
- In 2020, 27% either agree (21%) or are not sure (6%).
- In 2018, 36% either agreed (30%) or were not sure (6%). This is a change of 9 basis points and a 33% change overall.
The report concludes that
“Evangelicals . . . seem to be influenced by the culture’s uncertainty about what truth is, who Jesus is, and how sinners are saved.
“These results reveal an urgent need for clear biblical teaching on the person of Christ, the gospel of grace, and the way that the truth of God informs our ethical decisions in everyday life. There is much work to be done in this age of confusion, but we hope the findings of this survey will serve the church in its calling to reach more people with the faithful proclamation of God’s Word.”
The entire report is available online complete with user ability to personally analyze the responses for all questions asked in greater detail. The interactive Data Explorer allows users to select responses by specific single or multiple demographics, including age, gender, region, population density, education, income, ethnicity, affiliation, beliefs, and church attendance.
Missions Box News published similar survey results of the state of Christianity and Biblical worldviews as they become available. For more information, click these links.
- Church Leaders, The State of Our Theology in 2020 Is Pretty Concerning
- Ligonier Ministries, The State of Theology