2016 Ligonier Lifeway Research Study

In 2014 and 2016 Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research conducted a study that surveyed participates nation wide of their theological beliefs.  The participates ranged from Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, ‘mainline christian’, and ‘other’ in the christian faith.  Age, gender, ethnicity, region, education, marital status, income and church attendance data was also collected.  The questions asked are huge and fundamental to the identity of the Christian Faith.  The questions analyzed the participants understanding of who God is, who they are before God, how they view the Bible and sin.  The results are stunning.  So shocking in fact, Gospel4all.com feels it is critical to address these topics in a more clear fashion.  We will look at those who attend church one or more times a month and how they understand the questions asked.  We will also focus on the 18-34 year old age group.  The results are eye opening on what the Church body in 2016 believes.

1.  “God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake” 

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 4% disagree, 11% somewhat disagree, 2% are not sure.  17% of young adults who attend church do not believe God is perfect.  That’s almost 1 in 5 church attending Christians think God makes mistakes.  This hits at the heart of God’s Holiness.

4.  “God is the author of Scripture”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 7% disagree, 9% somewhat disagree, 4% are not sure.  20% of young adults who attend church do not trust that God is the author of Scripture. That’s 1 in 5 church attending Christians who do not wholly trust the Bible as the absolute source for spiritual truth. 

5.  “There is one true God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 6% disagree, 6%
somewhat disagree, 4% are not sure.  16% of young adults who attend
church do not believe in The Triune God; or understand God as in The Trinity.   That’s 1 in 6 church attending Christians who do not know or understand God in light of the Trinity.  This ultimately goes to the heart of Jesus and his divine nature.

7.  “Biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate. This event actually occurred”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 4% disagree, 7%
somewhat disagree, 6% are not sure.  17% of young adults who attend
church do not believe the bodily resurrection of Jesus actually occurred.   That’s almost 1 in 5 church attending Christians do not believe in the Gospel message!  This ultimately goes to the
heart salvation!

10.  “Jesus is truly God and has a divine nature, and Jesus is truly man and has a human nature.”

 Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 8% disagree, 7%
somewhat disagree, 6% are not sure.  21% of young adults who attend
church do not believe either Jesus is God or Jesus was also fully man.   That’s 1 in 5 church attending Christians do not
believe or understand the identity of Jesus  This goes to the heart of who Jesus is!

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

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 15% disagree, 11%
somewhat disagree, 12% are not sure.  38% of young adults who attend
church do not believe The Holy Spirit is the unique third person of the Triune God or that he is a being at all.   That’s a little over 1 in 3 church attending Christians do not
believe in or know the Holy Spirit!  This goes to the heart of The Trinue God and the being, the Holy Spirit!

15.  “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 15% disagree,
17%
somewhat disagree, 5% are not sure.  37% of young adults who attend
church do not believe in or understand their sinful nature from birth.  
That’s a little over 1 in 3 church attending Christians do not know themselves in the deepest level.  This goes to the heart of why Jesus had to die on the cross and what his sacrifice meant and did for us.

18.  “By the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven.”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 22% disagree, 13%
somewhat disagree, 6% are not sure.  59% of young adults who attend
church believe their hard work earns them a place in heaven and contributes to their self-righteousness.  
That’s a little over 1 in 2 church attending Christians think they can earn a spot in heaven through their works.  This goes to the heart of legalism and God’s Grace.  When we remove the Catholic participants in the percentage we still see that 52% of non-Catholic church attending Christians still believe their deeds earn them a place in heaven.

46.  “Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.”

Ages 18-34 who attend church one or more times a month: 7% disagree,
12%
somewhat disagree, 0% are not sure.  19% of young adults who attend
church do not believe or trust completely in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.  
That’s at 1 in 5 church attending Christians do not believe the Gospel Message and absolute reason for Jesus being the Lamb of God.  This goes to the heart of the saving message of The Gospel!

When looking at just these 9 questions and their responses, we can see some serious problems within the church:

  • Knowing God: Averaged 23.6% of 18 to 34 year old Christians who attend church one or more times a month do not correctly understood who God is.
  • The Gospel:  Averaged 23.25% of 18 to 34 year old Christians who attend church one or more times a month do not believe in The Gospel Message!
  • Legalistic and Self-Righteous: Averaged 38.6% of 18 to 34 year old Christians who attend church one or more times a month have legalistic self-righteous beliefs about themselves.

In the church, in 2016, we see the belittling of God, corruption of the gospel message, and growth of self-righteous attitudes; all within the church in this current time; validated by this study.

Even though this study and these statistics are scary, it also points us in areas that the church needs to focus on, study, discuss, and more accurately address and teach.  Gospel4all.com sees these statistics as an opportunity to focus on the truths that are needed the most and address the ‘weightier of matters’ as Jesus put it.

If you would like to see the study and its findings, go to TheStateOfTheology.com

If you have any questions or comments about this article please contact us or join our discussion forms

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