One of the resources from Ligonier Ministries that I have grown most appreciative of is their State of Theology survey. They released the first one in 2014, and just recently released the findings from their 2016 survey of 3,000 professing Christians in America.

Out of the 47 questions asked, these are the three results that I found particularly troubling.

The rejection of Solus Christus.

Statement #47: “Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”

  • Only 34% of participants strongly agreed with this statement.
  • 25% of participants strongly disagreed with this statement.

The strong sense of confusion in Christian circles regarding the very means of salvation is a sad thing indeed. It’s worth noting that in Statement #6 of the survey, it was revealed that 46% of self-identified Christians at least somewhat agree with the statement, “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”

The minimalization of sin.

Statement #17: “Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.”

  • Only 12% of participants strongly agreed with this statement.
  • 61% of participants strongly disagree with this statement.

This and many other survey answers reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the holiness of God and the depravity of man – 42% at least somewhat agreed that people are mostly good by nature.

The misidentification of the Holy Spirit.

Statement #11: “The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.”

  • Only 19% strongly disagreed with this statement.
  • 30% of participants strongly agreed.

I’ve personally been concerned about the way the Holy Spirit is misidentified by modern evangelicals for some time now. I think the fundamental lack of knowledge regarding the Holy Spirit’s role and ministry is most noticeable in the lyrics of modern worship songs – many of which treat the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force, rather than a personal being and member of the Godhead.

Lyrics invite the Holy Spirit to “flood this place and fill the atmosphere,” or make requests like “More love, more power, More of You in my life.” Statements like these imply that the Holy Spirit is not a being dwelling with the believer, but a substance or superpower that you can have more or less of depending on how passionately and repetitively, repetitively, repetitively you sing and beg for it.

These are just a few of the sad, yet somewhat unsurprising results of the full survey.
I encourage you to browse the remainder of Ligonier’s findings here:

What concerns you? What do you think our response as Christians should be to these findings?

I appreciate the conclusion of Ligonier on these discoveries:

“Faithful Christians can look at these survey results and lament the state of theology in America. Or, we can look at these results and engage our Great Commission work with a renewed urgency and purpose. Ligonier Ministries is taking the latter approach. It is easy to get distracted by cultural trends and apply our resources toward chasing novel methodology. This survey reminds us of the necessity of teaching foundational truths: God’s holiness, Christ’s person and work, humanity’s true need to be saved from the wrath of God, and the Bible’s authority—even in the twenty-first century.”

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