This story from Charisma News:
Professing Christians progressing toward spiritual maturity will have a firmer grasp on important doctrinal positions. However, plenty of churchgoers still struggle with basic truths about God, the Bible and salvation. So says a new study from LifeWay Research.
The LifeWay Research study on “Doctrinal Positions” shows that while 81 percent of churchgoers say “When you die, you will go to heaven because you have confessed your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior,” 26 percent agree “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.” Fifty-seven percent disagree.
“Consumers in America are accustomed to having endless combinations of choices for every want in life,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “Biblical truth is radical because it teaches that eternal life is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ alone.”
Other responses given regarding beliefs about life after death include:
- When you die, you will go to heaven because you have tried your best to be a good person and live a good life (selected by 7 percent of churchgoers).
- You have no way of knowing what will happen when you die (5 percent of churchgoers).
When you die, you will go to heaven because God loves everyone and we will all be in heaven with Him (4 percent).
- When you die, you will go to heaven because you have read the Bible, been involved in church, and tried to live as God wants you to live (2 percent).
- There is no life after death (1 percent).
Churchgoers strongly hold to the accuracy of the Scriptures, the survey reveals. Eighty-two percent agree with the statement: “The Bible is the written word of God and is totally accurate in all that it teaches.” Ten percent disagree and 8 percent neither agree nor disagree.
While the majority of churchgoers (75 percent) strongly hold the God of the Bible is not the same god worshiped in other world religions, 13 percent say the God of the Bible is no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Another 12 percent neither agree nor disagree with the uniqueness of the God of the Bible.
The study also shows nearly two-thirds (71 percent) agree with the statement: “God is just and sin has to be punished.” However, 13 percent of churchgoers disagree and 16 percent neither agree nor disagree with the statement.
I would love to see the details of this survey. At first glance it would appear that we have about 80% saved and 20% goats in our churches. I would also guess that people who answered biblically on one question did so on all and were probably older and lived in Southern states.
That someone could attend church on a regular basis and not know some of these most foundational doctrines is a sore indictment against the preaching in the church. Perhaps a few more sermons on doctrine and a few less on “finding your destiny” might help.