Home Church New Study: Many Who Identify As Evangelical Do Not Hold Mainline Evangelical Beliefs By Will Maule

New Study: Many Who Identify As Evangelical Do Not Hold Mainline Evangelical Beliefs By Will Maule

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A new Lifeway Research study published earlier this week has highlighted a pretty strange trend in American Christianity – a large proportion of those who call themselves “evangelical” do not hold to traditional evangelical beliefs.

Indeed, less than half of those who identify as evangelicals (45 percent) strongly agree with core evangelical doctrine, according to a new survey from Nashville-based research group.

“There’s a gap between who evangelicals say they are and what they believe,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. The research also discovered that a vast number of evangelical believers completely reject the term “evangelical.” In addition to this, only two-thirds (69 percent) of evangelicals by belief self-identify as evangelicals.

The research highlights a very interesting nuance in the belief system of the American evangelical:

Fifteen percent of Americans are evangelicals if measured by their core beliefs. However, 24 percent of Americans self-identify as evangelicals. And when it comes to racial diversity, Lifeway’s results are fascinating:

“Evangelicals by belief are more diverse than self-identified evangelicals. Fifty-eight percent are white, 23 percent are African-American and 14 percent are Hispanic. Five percent claim another ethnicity. By contrast, 70 percent of self-identified evangelicals are white. Fourteen percent are African-Americans. Twelve percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent claim another ethnicity.”
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