What the Statistics Reveal About Evangelicals

White Church

I recently read a Pew Research study reporting on the beliefs and practices of the religious. The results were shocking.

Pew Research Study

Narrowing the results to Evangelical Christians – Not liberals or Catholics or anyone else. Here is what they report:

  • 90% of Evangelicals say they believe God exists.
  • 79% of Evangelicals say religion in one’s life is very important.
  • 78% of Evangelicals say they pray daily.
  • 58% of Evangelicals say they attend services once a week.
  • But only 36% of Evangelicals believe their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life.

What Does This Mean?

It means we believe there is a God. We believe religion, prayer, and church matters, but we don’t know why Jesus matters. That’s a problem! If we don’t know why Jesus matters, we don’t really have True Faith. We aren’t really Christians.

What Does Salvation Require?

Salvation requires we recognize Jesus as the only Savior. Faith defined as complete trust and confidence in Jesus as our Savior based on certain fundamental truths found in God’s Word, means we can’t believe there are other ways to God. We either have complete confidence and trust Jesus is the Savior of the world, or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you believe there are multiple ways to God?
  2. Do you believe Jesus is the only Savior of the world?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon What is True Faith?

Pew Research Study

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10 thoughts on “What the Statistics Reveal About Evangelicals

  1. A couple of things come to mind while reading this. First, the results from the survey are all inward focused. Jesus was outward focused. Does the focus on church attendance, personal belief and prayer really give us a good understanding of what a true Christ-follower looks like? Second, I think the word religion creates several problems. Some may think of religion denominationally. If that’s the case, they may understand that no denomination (even the denomination of non-denominationals) has a stranglehold on the one true faith. Some may think of religion as a certain teaching or set of beliefs. That covers Joel Osteen to the Billy Graham to the deepest recesses of fire and brimstone, discriminatory, and worthy based on production teachers. None of those have a claim on the one true faith.

    The older I get, the more I appreciate the effects of semantics. Evangelicals. Protestants. Catholics. Baptist. Methodist. Christian. I’m more and more uncomfortable with labels and questions that don’t drill to the core of what’s important. Would the results have been different if they asked if Jesus was the only way to eternal salvation? I don’t know the answer but I would have trusted the question more.

    Jesus said, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” He’s not the religion. He’s not the denomination. He’s simply the way, the truth and the life. In the end, my greatest concern isn’t the percentage of people talking to God (and hopefully listening) or the people warming a spot on a pew. My greatest concern is living a life that does more than tell someone how I feel about religion but a life that allows them to see Jesus personified in me.

    Thanks for getting my brain spinning today.

    1. Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your insight. I think some of your critique of the survey question is well founded. Surveys don’t always get to the core like we would want.

      The surveyor used religion because they asked people of several different faiths, not just Christians. I took from the percentage that dealt with evangelical Christians alone since we are the ones out of all the other denominations and religions who are supposed to claim Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

      A survey dealing specifically with Christians would be even more helpful. Maybe one will pop up in my future research on the topic. If it does, I will share it with you.

      Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts as well. Keep living like Jesus!

      Blessings,

      Casey

  2. I clicked like, but i too am saddened – because why would an Evangelical ever consider evangelizing if they don’t even believe in an exclusive gospel. Something is wrong with our preaching and discipleship for this to be such a low percentage.

    The other issues is that if 78% are praying – we have somehow turned prayer into something that is talking at an unknown deity, rather than a person to person conversation with God. Those who know God would not be so far afield on Jesus.

    Disturbing (but not altogether shocking) numbers my friend.

    1. Ben,

      Thanks for the additional insight. I believe you are right when you say why would we ever consider evangelizing. I think that is part of the problem and probably a reason many don’t evangelize.

      Blessings,

      Casey

  3. “But only 36% of Evangelicals believe their religion is the one true faith …”

    And how was this question asked? Many evangelicals might believe that those not labeled as ‘Evangelicals” such as Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox or Coptics, etc. also of true faith.

    It is impossible to know what “religion” meant in their minds if it was not spelled out clearly.

    1. Michael,

      The exact wording of the question is:

      Question wording: [IF RESPONDENT HAS A RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, ASK:] Now, as I read a pair of statements, tell me whether the FIRST statement or the SECOND statement comes closer to your own views even if neither is exactly right. First/next: My religion is the one, true faith leading to eternal life, OR: many religions can lead to eternal life.

      As with all surveys, the results could be skewed if the question was misunderstood. Some could have mistaken religious affiliation for denominational affiliation.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      Blessings,

      Casey

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