Less Than Half Of Churchgoers Believe Essential Christian Doctrines
By Dan Hart/Washington StandSeptember 05, 2023
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Family Research Council's Center for Biblical Worldview released the results of an extensive survey Wednesday on the views of adult churchgoers in America on social issues and worldview. While the vast majority of respondents said that it is important for Christians to have a biblical worldview, experts remain concerned about the mixed responses on social issues like abortion and basic doctrinal questions.
The survey was conducted in June by George Barna, a senior research fellow at the Center for Biblical Worldview, and comprised the responses of 1,009 adults who attend worship services at least once a month. Respondents answered 60 questions ranging from their views on political affiliation, elections, abortion, transgenderism, and marriage to their personal Bible reading habits and biblical interpretations, worldview beliefs, favorite ministries, and more.
Center for Biblical Worldview Director David Closson, who served as manager for the project, noted that the survey's singular focus on regular churchgoers provided uncommon revelations.
"FRC's latest survey is unique because it gives insight into what the nation's most devout churchgoers believe," he told The Washington Stand. "To achieve our results, we employed a methodology that screened out those who do not attend church. In other words, we did not rely on religious self-identification. To qualify for our survey, you needed to attend church at least monthly."
The survey found that 72% of respondents attend church weekly, with 28% saying they attend at least once a month. "By ensuring that respondents actually attend church, we were able to take the pulse of what active churchgoers truly believe," he explained.
Closson went on to describe the data points that gave him hope. "I was encouraged by a number of findings, including the high percentage of those who indicated that they desire their church to offer additional worldview training on social and political responsibility, abortion, the value of human life, and human sexuality," he told TWS.
"I was also encouraged that 88% of adult churchgoers indicated that they believe it is important for Christians to have a biblical worldview. The fact that 94% of churchgoers are registered to vote also demonstrates that efforts to register church members have been largely successful."
But Closson was also disheartened by some of the results, including "an alarmingly high percentage of churchgoers who failed to answer correctly some basic doctrinal questions." "For example," he continued, "only 41% of churchgoers said they believe that people are born into sin and can only be saved from its consequences by Jesus.
In places like John 14:6, the Bible is very clear that people are only saved from their sin and reconciled to a holy God through faith in Jesus. Findings like this demonstrate that many of our churches need to redouble their efforts at teaching basic doctrinal truths."
Closson further discussed his reaction to what the survey revealed about churchgoers' views on abortion.
"I admit that I was surprised," he acknowledged. "Although it was encouraging to see that an overwhelming percentage of regular churchgoers identify as pro-life (63%), it was surprising to see that only 65% of respondents claimed the Bible identifies when life begins.
Additionally, among those who believe the Bible speaks to the question of when life begins, only 52% of those folks said that life begins at conception. From reading passages such as Luke 1:39-45 and Psalm 139:13-16, it is clear that the Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn from the moment of conception. Our report indicates that churches need to spend some more time emphasizing these biblical truths."