Sep 19, 2020

How Are We Made Right with God? Many “Evangelicals” Don’t Know.

2 Min Read

What do U.S. evangelicals believe about salvation? The results are now available from our 2020 State of Theology survey, conducted in partnership with Lifeway Research.

The gospel of Jesus Christ delivers the definitive answer to one of life’s ultimate questions: How can we, as sinful people, be reconciled to a holy God? Deriving their name from the evangel, the Greek word for “gospel,” evangelicals should have great concern for the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Sadly, though, it seems that many are confused about the content of the gospel message they profess.

Our 2020 survey results reveal that only 84 percent of U.S. evangelicals agree with the following statement: “God counts a person as righteous not because of one’s works but only because of one’s faith in Jesus Christ.” In 2018, 91 percent of evangelicals agreed with this clear definition of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. This shows that there has been an alarming decrease in the percentage of evangelicals who express clear views on how sinful man can be justified in the sight of God.

Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols recently responded to these survey findings. Watch below.

Given the centrality of the doctrine of justification in the Bible, the 2020 State of Theology survey results reinforce the need for clear teaching about the gospel and the doctrine of justification in local churches. One of the reasons why this survey exists is to provide Christians with insights for discipleship. We hope that as error and falsehood are exposed in both the culture and the church, Christians will be better prepared to present the truth of God’s Word clearly and boldly.

Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who 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.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.