Ligonier Ministries has published the results of a survey conducted in order to assess the theological understanding and awareness of our fellow citizens. Here is the description of the survey:
It is Ligonier’s desire to serve the church in fulfilling the Great Commission. This survey has helped to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith. View the infographic [pictured at right], listen to Dr. R.C. Sproul discuss these findings on Renewing Your Mind, or download the official white paper and survey with key findings.
The Executive Summary included in the official white paper goes on to state:
Ligonier Ministries is “committed to faithfully presenting the unvarnished truth of Scripture to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness.” Anecdotal evidence has shown an increasing lack of theological understanding in America, both outside and inside the church. Ligonier Ministries wanted to understand with accuracy the extent of the need to improve that understanding. Ligonier Ministries commissioned a research study by LifeWay Research to measure the theological awareness of adult Americans. Ligonier Ministries identified specific doctrines and heresies that they wanted to test. LifeWay Research helped refine these questions and to conduct a survey of 3,000 Americans. Questions focused on seven key doctrinal areas and included a number of specific areas where Americans differ from historic and orthodox views.
The key doctrinal areas covered by the study include beliefs about God, beliefs about goodness and sin, beliefs about salvation and religious texts, beliefs about heaven and hell, beliefs about the church, and beliefs about authority. For those of us who are devoted to the Scriptures as our ultimate authority, who care about a correct understanding of truth, and who therefore have been paying particular attention to the disintegration of our culture and the deplorable state of professing Evangelical Christianity, many of the survey’s finding will come as no surprise. However, some of the findings might surprise you, especially when the views of those identified as Evangelical Protestants are compared to the common views of Americans who are not Evangelical Protestants. For example, 64% of Americans surveyed agreed with the statement that “A person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God & then God responds with grace” (which is not surprising), but 68% of those identified as Evangelical Protestants also agreed with the statement (which I find a bit surprising, given that even an Arminian should no better). At any rate, I thought the readers of this blog would find the study both interesting and helpful. Feel free to let us know what you think.