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Americans Hold Complex, Conflicting Religious Beliefs, According to Latest State of Theology Study

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than half of Americans say religious beliefs are a matter of personal opinion, not objective facts. And that’s made clear by examining the varying, and sometimes contradictory, theological doctrines they hold.

The biennial State of Theology study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research explores the religious and cultural beliefs of U.S. adults.

For 54% of Americans, theological beliefs are not a matter of objective truth, but rather belong in the category of subjective personal opinion.

“Many Americans treat theology like a choose-your-own adventure book,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “It’s clear from certain beliefs that some people feel truth is something people are free to define on their own, and in doing so they possess seemingly incompatible beliefs.”

The survey of more than 3,000 Americans is sponsored by Orlando-based Ligonier Ministries and follows previous State of Theology studies in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Trinity confusion

A clear majority of Americans (72%) say they believe in the classic Christian doctrine of the Trinity—one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet most also believe Jesus was merely a great human teacher and the Holy Spirit is a force.

“Christianity has historically started with an understanding of God as the Creator and source of reality itself,” said McConnell. “While many Americans repeat with agreement a definition of this one Triune God, a further look at their beliefs reveals a majority do not believe in each Person of the Trinity as described in the Bible.”

Most Americans have no problem asserting divine perfection, as 65% say God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake.

Half of Americans (52%) agree Jesus was a great teacher, but not God. Slightly more than half (55%) believe Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God, which runs contrary to the historical Christian belief that Jesus is eternal as God the Son.

While many reject His deity, most Americans say Jesus physically rose from the dead. Two-thirds (66%) believe the biblical accounts of Jesus’ bodily resurrection are completely accurate.

Three in 5 Americans (59%) agree the Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being. For 1 in 5 (19%), the Holy Spirit can tell them to do something that is forbidden in the Bible.

Two-thirds of the U.S. (64%) say God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Few Americans believe learning about theology is only for pastors and scholars (15%).

Sin and salvation

When it comes to sin, most Americans say just a little doesn’t hurt, but a growing number believe even the smallest sins warrant an everlasting punishment, according to the 2020 State of Theology study.

Two-thirds of Americans (65%) agree everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature. Still 26% say even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation, the highest percentage in the history of the study.

“There has been a slow but steady increase in the portion of Americans believing that the deserving punishment for any sin is eternal damnation,” said McConnell. “While the number believing in hell has been steady, those who believe God doesn’t give any free passes for small sins has increased from 18% in 2014 to 26% today.”

A majority of Americans (56%) say hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever.

More than half (56%) believe God counts a person as righteous not because of that person’s good works but because of their faith in Christ.

Most Americans believe they can only find salvation through Jesus. Three in 5 (60%) believe only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

A quarter of U.S. adults believe salvation was determined long ago, as 26% agree God chose the people He would save before He created the world, a doctrine known as predestination.

Three in 5 (62%) believe there will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all the people who have lived.

For some Americans, they believe the rewards don’t have to wait. A third of Americans (36%) believe God will always reward true faith with material blessings in this life, a doctrine associated with what has been called the prosperity gospel.

Muddled morality

Americans are divided on what the Bible is and what authority it has over our lives.

The 2020 State of Theology study found a third of U.S. adults (34%) believe modern science disproves the Bible.

Close to half (48%) believe the Bible is 100% accurate in all it teaches. The same percentage (48%) say the Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true. This number has grown from 41% in 2014.

Around half (51%) say the Bible has authority to tell us what to do.

A quarter of U.S. adults (25%) believe God is unconcerned with their day-to-day decisions.

For half of Americans (51%), sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin. By contrast, 2 in 5 (40%)

believe the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.

Half (51%) say abortion is a sin. More than a third (38%) believe gender identity is a matter of choice.

View of the pews

Most Americans (58%) agree worshipping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church. Respondents were asked these questions in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically blurred the lines between worshipping at home and attending church.

“Those answering had no idea what COVID-19 would do to normal patterns of worship in America. March 15 (64%) was the last week that the majority of Protestant churches met in person until June 7 (55%),” said McConnell citing LifeWay Research surveys of Protestant pastors conducted in March and July.

“While the pandemic suspended the ability to gather as a local church for worship, a large minority of Americans recognize there is something more to this assembly that a family can’t accomplish on their own.”

For a third of U.S. adults (36%), churches must provide entertaining worship services if they want to be effective.

Previous LifeWay Research studies have found little support among Americans and Protestant pastors themselves for political endorsements from pastors and churches. For a quarter of Americans (24%) in the latest State of Theology study that doesn’t go far enough. They believe Christians should be silent on issues of politics.

“The theological beliefs of an individual are far-reaching. They impact views of God and the Bible, but also morality, justice, authority and how to treat others,” said McConnell. “A previous LifeWay Research survey found 80% of evangelicals say the Bible informs their political views.

“During this election year, however, Christians should be aware that not only will there be people who disagree with their perspectives, but 1 in 4 Americans will disapprove of a Christian speaking about political matters at all.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
A demographically balanced online panel was used for interviewing American adults for the 2020 State of Theology study sponsored by Ligonier Ministries. A total of 3,002 surveys were completed from March 10-18, 2020. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from the online panel does not exceed plus or minus 2.0%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Slight weights were used to balance gender, age, ethnicity, income, region and religion.

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Pastors Split Over Ministry Return Time Frame for Pastors Who Commit Adultery

Wed, 12/08/2020 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When a pastor commits adultery, most of their fellow pastors believe they should withdraw from public ministry for at least some time.

A new survey of U.S. Protestant pastors by Nashville-based LifeWay Research finds 2% of pastors believe a fellow pastor who has an affair does not need to take any time away.

“Scripture doesn’t mince words about adultery,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “From the Ten Commandments, to the Apostle Paul’s lists of wicked things, to the qualifications for elders listed in 1 Timothy, adultery is not appropriate for a follower of Christ nor a leader of a local church.”

Few believe less than a year is a sufficient period of withdrawal from public ministry: 3% say for at least three months, and another 3% say at least six months.

Around 1 in 6 pastors (16%) believe an offending pastor should stay gone for at least a year.

Other pastors want them to be away from public ministry for a longer period of time: 10% say at least two years, 7% say at least five years, and 1% say at least 10 years.

For more than a quarter of pastors (27%), a pastor who commits adultery should withdraw from public ministry permanently.

Three in 10 pastors (31%) say they aren’t sure what the appropriate time frame would be.

“While the Bible is clear that this behavior does not fit a pastor or elder of a church,” said McConnell, “there is much debate over how long this act would disqualify someone from pastoral ministry.”

Changes since 2016

Pastors’ responses are similar to though not unchanged from a 2016 LifeWay Research survey.

Pastors today are less likely than those four years ago to say shorter time frames are appropriate periods of withdrawal from public ministry.

Compared to 2016, pastors now are less likely to say less than a year (6% to 10%) or at least a year (16% to 21%) is the right amount of time away.

“There has been much attention given to calling American leaders to account for sexual misconduct since 2016,” said McConnell. “It is not surprising that fewer pastors believe public ministry should be restored in a year.”

Overall, there is more uncertainty among pastors now. Current pastors are more likely to say they are not sure of the appropriate time away from public ministry today (31%) than in 2016 (25%).

Differences among pastors

The ethnicity, education and denomination of a pastor influenced the likelihood of their response.

African American pastors are the least likely to say one who commits adultery should withdraw from the ministry permanently (8%).

Denominationally, Pentecostal pastors are the least likely to advocate for a permanent withdrawal (6%) and most likely to support staying away for at least a year (35%).

Methodists (7%) are more likely to say the pastor does not need to withdraw at all than Baptists (1%), Lutherans (1%), Pentecostals (less than 1%), and pastors in the Restorationist movement (less than 1%).

Pastors with a bachelor’s degree (34%) are more likely to support a permanent withdrawal than those with additional education: master’s (27%) or doctoral degree (22%).

Smaller church pastors, those with churches of attendance between 50 to 99, are also more likely to say pastors who commit adultery should withdraw from ministry permanently than pastors of churches with 100 to 249 in attendance (31% to 23%).

“Pastors’ opinions on the subject are a good barometer for opinions across churches,” said McConnell. “There is widespread disagreement from pastors across denominations, church size, age, race and education levels to quickly restoring pastors who commit adultery to public ministry positions.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The phone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors was conducted Aug. 30 – Sept. 24, 2019. The calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Quotas were used for church size. Each interview was conducted with the senior pastor, minister or priest of the church called.

Responses were weighted by region to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,000 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.3%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Comparisons are made to a study with the same methodology conducted March 9-24, 2016.

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Churchgoers Express Confidence and Confusion Over the Bible

Thu, 30/07/2020 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Most churchgoers say they can address doubts others have about the Bible, but half admit they have problems understanding Scripture on their own.

Despite repeatedly affirming confidence in their own abilities to explain and understand the Bible, a recent LifeWay Research study in partnership with Explore the Bible curriculum found 57% of Protestant churchgoers say they find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own.

One in 5 (19%) strongly agree, while 38% somewhat agree. Around 2 in 5 (41%) say they don’t find it challenging, including 16% who strongly disagree.

“Churchgoers are ready to defend the Bible as true and as a faithful moral standard,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But most admit they stumble on understanding the specific meaning as they read.”

“Reading and studying as an individual is important, but we need others to help us think through what we discover,” said Dwayne McCrary of Explore the Bible. “Studying together also allows us to gain insights from others that move us forward in our study as well.”

External confidence

Regardless of how challenging churchgoers find the Bible, they seem sure they can recognize its relevance to them and help others understand it.

Nine in 10 churchgoers (90%) agree they can usually understand how a passage of Scripture is relevant to them. Only 7% disagree.

Four in 5 express confidence in their ability to help others with doubts about the truthfulness of Scripture (81%), difficulty accepting morals taught in the Bible (82%), and confusion over a Bible passage (81%).

“It is possible the confidence churchgoers have in helping others understand the Bible, comes more from what they have been taught than from their own reading,” said McConnell. “Those who attend church most frequently have more confidence in helping someone with a confusing passage of Scripture.”

Older churchgoers are more likely to feel hesitancy in their biblical understanding than others in the pews.

Around 1 in 5 churchgoers 65 and older (19%) lack confidence in their ability to address the doubts of someone struggling with the truthfulness of Scripture. Similar numbers of older churchgoers (20%) don’t believe they could help a neighbor who was confused about a Bible passage.

Context clues

Churchgoers may have such confidence because they profess enjoyment in Bible study. More than 9 in 10 (93%) say they enjoy exploring a passage of Scripture to understand its meaning; 5% disagree.

Baptist (97%) and non-denominational churchgoers (95%) are more likely than those who attend a Restorationist movement (83%) or Lutheran church (76%) to say they appreciate digging into Bible passages.

As part of that exploration process, overwhelmingly churchgoers see two aspects as important: understanding the original context of a passage and applying that passage to our modern context.

Nearly all churchgoers say it is important to understand the context in which the Bible was written (96%) and it is important to apply the meaning and principles of Scripture to today’s context (93%).

McCrary said it’s important for those studying the Bible to both understand Scripture in its original context and apply that truth to the modern context.

“If we only seek to understand a text in its original context, we see the Bible simply as history and remove its active cutting edges,” he said. “If we simply jump to apply the text, we run the risk of missing the principle or truth that should direct our application of a Bible passage.”

Timeless truths?

Despite their commitment to understand the Bible in its original context, 4 in 5 churchgoers say the Bible can have multiple meanings for readers.

For 82% of churchgoers, the truth of God’s Word can mean different things to different people, with 15% disagreeing.

Those who attend church more frequently and those with evangelical beliefs are less likely to agree, but more than three-fourths of both groups still agree.

For McCrary, this points to a tendency to hurry and short circuit the Bible study process by confusing the meaning of a text with its application. “We tend to jump from what a passage says to what we do in response and forget to consider the principle or truth behind what is said,” he explained.

“Doing Bible study correctly takes time and thought, but it gets us to the meaning—which does not change—so we can then look at how we encounter God today and what our response should be to those encounters.”

While there may be some confusion over meaning and application, a large percentage of churchgoers are clear that they treat some biblical teachings differently.

Three in 10 (30%) churchgoers say they accept some truths from the Bible, but others don’t fit what they believe. Two-thirds (66%) disagree, with 51% disagreeing strongly.

Those without evangelical beliefs are more than 2.5 times as likely to agree than those with such beliefs (45% to 17%).

Churchgoers who attend fewer than four times a month are almost twice as likely to agree than those who attend more frequently (42% to 22%).

A quarter of churchgoers (24%) believe some biblical truths become obsolete as culture changes. Seven in 10 disagree, with 53% saying they strongly disagree.

Younger churchgoers, those 18 to 34, are the most likely to agree (36%). Those who attend church less frequently and those without evangelical beliefs are also more likely to see some truths from the Bible as culturally obsolete today.

“For a religion claiming a basis in God’s Word, it’s surprising to see this many practicing Christians giving their own word priority in their beliefs,” said McConnell. “In a world filled with constant changes, it’s hard for some to accept the biblical claim of an unchanging source of truth.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The online survey of 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers was conducted September 20-27, 2019 using a national pre-recruited panel. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant or non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, and education to more accurately reflect the population.

The completed sample is 1,002 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from the panel does not exceed plus or minus 3.2%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

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Most Churches Cautiously Holding Services Again

Sat, 25/07/2020 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Churches are gathering again, but services and programs remain drastically different from the beginning of the year.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to previous surveys from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, Protestant churches across America stopped gathering in-person in a matter of weeks.

The latest LifeWay Research survey of Protestant pastors found congregations have slowly and cautiously started to meet again.

“While more and more churches have resumed in-person worship services, it has not always been a straight path back,” said Scott McConnell, executive director LifeWay Research. “Some have had difficulty resuming or had to stop meeting again as things got worse in their area.”

Cautious regathering

Each Sunday in April, fewer than 1 in 10 Protestant churches held in-person services. Starting in May, those numbers began to climb. By the first weekend in June, a majority (55%) were gathering. In July, more than 7 in 10 have met physically.

Still, 21% of Protestant pastors say they have not met in person the past three months.

Around 1 in 5 churches (21%) offered drive-in services where attendees participated from their vehicles at some point during the pandemic.

For those churches choosing to meet physically indoors, 99% point to some type of health and safety precaution they are taking.

More than 3 in 4 pastors say they provided hand sanitizer, masks or gloves to those needing it (94%), conducted additional cleaning of surfaces (86%), or closed seats to increase distance between people (76%).

Most have recommended masks (59%), but only around a third (35%) have required attendees to wear them.

Around 1 in 5 have added services (21%) or additional viewing rooms (18%) to allow people to spread out more.

Others have conducted temperature checks of staff and volunteers (21%). Some have also checked temperatures of all attendees (14%).

“Resuming in-person worship services has not been reverting to worship as usual,” McConnell said. “Churches are making efforts to make the environment safe, but these efforts are often second-guessed by those who either want more precautions or less restrictions.”

COVID impact

While most Protestant churches still have not seen an attendee be diagnosed with COVID-19, the number of pastors who have is growing.

In March, 5% of pastors said one of their attendees had a positive diagnosis. That jumped to 20% in April. For May through July, 28% of pastors say someone in their church has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

One in 20 Protestant pastors (5%) have dealt with an attendee dying from the coronavirus.

Pastors in the Northeast are more likely to say someone in their congregation has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (41%) and having someone die from it (10%).

In the past three months, pastors say church attendees have also dealt with reduced hours at work (74%) and losing a job (48%).

Pastors have also seen their congregations respond to shared needs, as 81% say attendees have helped each other with tangible needs and 60% say attendees have met tangible needs in the community connected to the coronavirus.

More than 4 in 5 pastors (83%) say new people who have not attended their church in the past have attended or connected online since the pandemic began. And 13% say an attendee has seen someone make a commitment to follow Christ after sharing the gospel.

In terms of the offering plate, 34% of pastors say they’ve received less in 2020 than at this point in 2019, with 29% saying around the same and 28% saying giving has been up.

“In the fall of 2019, 21% of churches had received less funds than the prior year. Now more than a third see offerings retracting,” said McConnell. “The last time we saw this type of financial decline was after the full impact of the last recession in the fall of 2010.”

To meet their financial obligations, some Protestant pastors say they applied for government assistance. Two in 5 (40%) say they applied for help through the CARES Act or the Small Business Administration, with 38% saying they applied and were approved. More than half (58%) say they have not applied.

Self-identified evangelical pastors are more likely than mainline pastors to say they have not applied for government aid (67% to 47%).

Uncertain future

Even though most Protestant churches are gathering, pastors still are more hesitant to begin small group Bible studies or activities for children and teenagers.

Close to 3 in 10 pastors (29%) say in-person adult Bible studies are currently gathering, including 3% who say they never stopped. Almost 1 in 5 (18%) plan to restart those groups by September, 7% say some time in October through December, and 3% say in 2021. For 42% of pastors, they have not made that decision yet.

Half of Protestant pastors (51%) haven’t decided when to start in-person student ministry activities, while a quarter (23%) are meeting now, including 2% who say they never stopped. Some have made plans to begin in July (3%), August (7%), September (9%), some time in October through December (5%), or in 2021 (2%).

Pastors are even more hesitant about kid’s ministry activities. Only 1% say they never stopped in-person activities with children and 12% say they have resumed them. Almost 3 in 5 (57%) say it is still to be determined when they will start back. Fewer plan to begin in July (3%), August (6%), September (11%), some time in October through December (7%), or in 2021 (3%).

“Maintaining social distance and necessary sanitation is very difficult with younger ages,” said McConnell. “To complicate things further, some of the volunteers who normally work with kids and students are in higher risk groups who are not ready to return any time soon.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The online survey of 443 Protestant pastors was conducted July 20-22, 2020. Invitations were emailed to the LifeWay Research Pastor Panel followed by two reminders. The probability sample of Protestant churches was created by phone recruiting by LifeWay Research using random samples selected from all Protestant churches. Pastors who agree to be contacted by email for future surveys make up this LifeWay Research Pastor Panel.

Each survey was completed by the senior or sole pastor or a minister at the church. Responses were weighted by church average attendance, region, ethnicity of pastor, and whether the pastor self-identified as evangelical or mainline to more accurately reflect the population.

The final sample is 443 useable surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 5.0%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Comparisons are made to surveys using the same methodology conducted March 30-31, 2020 with 400 completes and April 27-29, 2020 with 470 completes.

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Churchgoers Express Hope, Sadness Over Leaders Who Leave the Faith

Thu, 09/07/2020 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In recent months and years, several high-profile Christian pastors and musicians announced they no longer identify as Christian or believe in core doctrines of the faith.

These public pronouncements are met with a mix of emotions from churchgoers, according to a new survey.

Nashville-based LifeWay Research asked more than 1,000 Protestant churchgoers how they feel when a person well-known for their work in Christian ministry announces they no longer accept their previous faith.

“Rather than speculating on the impact of those leaders who turn away from the faith, we wanted to know from churchgoers what they think,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

More than 3 in 5 churchgoers say they hope the former ministry leaders come back to the Christian faith someday (69%) or are sad they’ve abandoned their faith (63%).

Concern would also be on the minds of many churchgoers. Fewer than half say they feel concern for the ex-leader’s eternal destiny (44%) or concern they may lead others astray (40%).

Some question the validity of the leader’s now-rejected faith. More than 1 in 6 churchgoers (17%) believe leaders who leave Christianity must never have really had Christian faith.

Fewer than 1 in 10 churchgoers say they are happy for leaders finding a belief system that works better for them (9%), are angry at whoever or whatever pushed them away (9%), or identify with the leader’s doubts (8%).

Few say none of these (2%) or that they’re not sure (3%).

“The predominant reaction among churchgoers when they see a leader walk away from their faith is to maintain hope for them while grieving the decision they are making,” said McConnell.

“The big question is, will this leader cause others to also walk away? The data doesn’t answer that directly, but we see 8% of churchgoers currently have similar doubts and could be considered vulnerable,” he said. “Also, the 2 in 5 who fear others could follow the leader away from Christianity may simply be speculating or they may know some of those who have these doubts.”

Different responses

Older churchgoers, those with evangelical beliefs, and those who attend services more frequently are likely to respond differently to a ministry leader leaving their faith than those who are younger, who aren’t an evangelical by belief, or who attend less often.

Churchgoers 65 and older are most likely to say they hope the former ministry leader will come back to Christianity someday (77%). They also express higher concern for the leader’s eternal destiny (54%) and are more concerned they may lead others astray (50%).

Those in the upper age range are also the least likely to say they identify with the doubts of the ministry leaders leaving the faith (2%).

Churchgoing adults under 34 are the most likely to say they are happy former ministry leaders found a belief system that works better for them (19%).

They are also the least likely to say they are sad the former identifying Christians abandoned their faith (50%).

Those who attend a worship service at least four times a month are more likely than those who attend less frequently to say they are sad the ministry leaders abandoned their faith (67% to 56%), have concern for their eternal destiny (49% to 37%), and are concerned they may lead others astray (46% to 29%).

More frequent church attenders are less likely to say they are happy those who left the ministry found a belief system that works better for them (7% to 12%).

Churchgoing evangelicals by belief are more likely than other churchgoers to say an announcement about leaving the faith makes them feel hope the former leader will someday come back to Christianity (75% to 62%), sad they abandoned their faith (72% to 53%), concern for their eternal destiny (59% to 27%), concern they may lead others astray (51% to 27%), and have the belief that the ministry leader must never have really had Christian faith (20% to 13%).

Those with evangelical beliefs are also less likely to identify with the doubts of those leaving the ministry (6% to 11%) and say they are happy the former leaders found a belief system that works better for them (4% to 15%).

“Churches want to reach and minister to those who are not yet followers of Christ and those who have honest struggles with the truths Jesus taught,” said McConnell. “A leader abandoning the faith may be a distressing situation, but it should also serve as a reminder for Christians to only put their trust in Jesus.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The online survey of 1,002 American Protestant churchgoers was conducted September 20-27, 2019 using a national pre-recruited panel. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant/non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity and education to more accurately reflect the population.

The completed sample is 1,002 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from the panel does not exceed plus or minus 3.2%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

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