Lifeway has partnered with Ligonier Ministries for their third State of Theology in the United States survey, and their findings show that many American Christian disagree on some fundamental Christian teachings.
The idea of the study is to figure out what Americans “think about God, Jesus Christ, sin, and eternity.” Unsurprisingly, in the general population, people were divided on the topics. Even in Christian circles there are debates about these topics, but the survey shows departures from some principles that are largely accepted as orthodox teaching among evangelicals.
More than half of evangelicals (52%) said, “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.” 51% said, “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”
From Ligonier: “Strangely, while most evangelicals strongly believe in justification by faith alone, they are confused about the person of Jesus Christ. On one hand, virtually all evangelicals express support for Trinitarian doctrine. Yet at the same time, most agree that Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God, which was a view espoused by the ancient heretic Arius.” 78% believe that “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.”
Ligonier teaches Reformed Theology, which again, not all Christians agree on. And, the word “Heresy” is pretty strong (Christianity Today ran the headline “Christian, What Do You Believe? Probably a Heresy About Jesus, Say Survey”). But, it is interesting that so many self-described Christians in America disagree so much on some fundamental theological ideas.
The organization gave this take on their findings: “The 2018 State of Theology survey reveals deep confusion about the Bible’s teaching, not only among Americans as a whole, but also among evangelicals. There is something very wrong when a majority of Americans can give the correct answers to basic Bible questions and at the same time say that their beliefs are purely a matter of personal opinion.”
You can read more of their findings here.