Survey: Majority of American Christians Don’t Believe the Gospel

by Joe Carter

The Story: A new survey finds that a majority of people who describe themselves as Christian accept a “works-oriented” means to God’s acceptance.

The Background: A survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University find that American adults today increasingly adopt a “salvation-can-be-earned” perspective. A plurality of adults (48 percent) believe that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things during their life, they will “earn” a place in heaven. Only one-third of adults (35 percent) disagree.

A majority of Americans who describe themselves as Christian (52 percent) also accept a “works-oriented” means to God’s acceptance—even those associated with churches whose official doctrine says eternal salvation comes only from embracing Jesus Christ as savior. Almost half of all adults associated with Pentecostal (46 percent), mainline Protestant (44 percent), and evangelical (41 percent) churches, as well as nearly two-thirds of Catholics (70 percent), hold that view.

While about 65 percent of American adults describe themselves as Christians, only about half (54 percent) believe…

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Survey: Majority of American Christians Don’t Believe the Gospel