State of Theology: Evangelicals Hold Steady on Doctrine, More Outspoken on Politics

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American evangelicals make mostly incremental changes around some common heresies.

In the latest survey of Americans’ theological views, evangelicals stood out for their love of their Savior and Scripture, but like the rest of the country, they still have significant gaps in belief and interpretation.

The biggest change in this year’s State of American Theology Study had to do with approaches to political engagement, with evangelicals half as likely to believe that Christians should be silent on political issues than back in 2016.

LifeWay Research, in association with Ligonier Ministries, released the results today. The two organizations have conducted the study every two years since 2014. While some questions have changed or been reworded, the report provides an opportunity to chart American theological beliefs and awareness.

The results were mixed this year, even among those the survey designates as “evangelicals by belief”—those who agreed that the Bible is the highest authority for Christian belief; that personal evangelism is very important; that Jesus’ death on the Cross was the only way to cancel the penalty of sin; and that trusting in Jesus is the only way to eternal salvation.

God, Jesus, and the Spirit

When it comes to the doctrine of God, evangelicals fare pretty well. Consistent with results from 2016 and 2018, evangelical respondents were nearly unanimous in affirming that God is a perfect being (97%); that God is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (96%); and that God cares about our day-to-day decisions (87%).

There is still some confusion about whether God accepts worship from all religions, with evangelicals split—42 percent saying “yes” and 49 percent answering “no.” There were also disagreements that are unique to denominational …

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