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Who is Jesus Christ? Our State of Theology survey reveals what American adults and evangelicals believe about Christianity, truth, and ethics. The results are now available from our 2020 survey, conducted in partnership with Lifeway Research.
The person and work of Christ is central to the Christian faith. While the Bible plainly declares that Christ is truly God and truly man, critics have often said that Jesus was a great teacher and nothing more. The State of Theology survey reveals that 52 percent of adults in the United States hold this view.
While it may be unsurprising that the majority of the general U.S. population rejects the deity of Christ, our 2020 survey results present an eye-opening reality: 30 percent of evangelicals now agree with the statement, “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.” We asked Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols to explain the significance of this finding.
If Jesus’ claim to be God is false, then He was either delusional or deceptive, but He could not have been a good teacher. Moreover, Christ can only be our Mediator and Redeemer if He is God and man. To negotiate the deity of Christ is to abandon the gospel.
These survey results suggest an urgent need for clear biblical teaching on the person and work of Jesus Christ. 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.
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.