Survey reveals pervasive heretical beliefs among American Christians

Working with Lifeway Research, Ligonier Ministries recently released the third installment of their “State of Theology” survey.

Part of the goal is to find out what American Chrstians “believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible.” Lifeway polled 3,000 Americans in the survey.

The results were troubling.

Many people in the poll have unbiblical views on moral issues. For instance, 46% of people ages 18-34 believe that gender is a matter of personal choice. 38% disagreed that abortion is a sin.

But what is even more concerning than views on moral issues is views which are heretical. For the question, “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.” 78% agreed with that statement.

The problem?

Jesus isn’t a created being! The heresy that Jesus is a lesser being than God the Father is a heresy that is essentially as old as Christianity.

Other key doctrines where people disagreed with Biblical teachings included undermining that humans have a sinful nature. 53% of respondents agreed with the statement “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

51% of respondents believed that a person can be saved who follows a religion besides Christianity. 58% believed that “worshipping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.”

Churches must be committed to teaching sound biblical doctrine. We too often shy away from sound doctrine because we’re afraid it’ll be too advanced for people in a culture that is often not well versed in the Bible.

But there are catechisms for little kids. Surely adults can learn basic Biblical teachings, such as that Jesus is not a created being.

But I’ll also say that it’s not all on churches either. A person can be taught correct doctrine but choose to believe that which is unbiblical. I especially think of this in terms of beliefs that water down the penalty of sin or that try to find backdoors for people to get into heaven without having faith in the gospel.

We must take the word of God seriously.

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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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