Every two years, Ligonier Ministries works with LifeWay Research to evaluate the theological temperature of the American church. This year’s State of Theology study’s results show that not just Americans but evangelicals in particular are increasingly muddy on core truths such as the nature and character of God, the reality of human sin, the role of the Church in the world, and the exclusivity and divinity of Jesus Christ.
For context, the survey defines “evangelical” as a Christian believer who meets four criteria: that the Bible is the highest authority for what someone believes, that it is important for non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their savior, that Jesus’ death on the cross is the only sacrifice that removes the penalty of humanity’s sin, and that only those who trust in Him alone receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
Though that definition is a promising theological start, the results go quickly downhill from there.
For example, nearly half of evangelicals agreed that God “learns and adapts” to different circumstances, in stark contrast to the biblical doctrine of unchanging nature, or immutability; 65 percent of evangelicals agreed that everyone is “born innocent in the eyes of God,” denying the doctrine of original sin, and with it, the very reason that people need salvation in the first place.