About a third of evangelicals say Jesus was a “good teacher” but was not God, according to a LifeWay Research study created for Ligonier Ministries.
Also, 65 percent of evangelicals believe “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God” a statement that goes against the Bible’s teachings.
John 1:1, John 8:58, Romans 9:5, and Hebrews 1:1-4 all speak to Christ’s divinity.
While these findings may be shocking to some, they shed light on the concerns that many American Christians and churches have expressed for decades, said Stephen Nichols, chief academic of Ligonier Ministries and president of Reformation Bible College.
“As the culture around us increasingly abandons its moral compass, professing evangelicals are sadly drifting away from God’s absolute standard in Scripture. It’s clear that the church does not have the luxury of idly standing by. This is a time for Christians to study Scripture diligently, engage confidently with people in our culture, and witness fearlessly to the identity and saving work of Jesus Christ in the gospel,” Nichols said.
Ligonier created the “Ligonier Statement of Christology” to help Christians understand Scripture’s teachings about Jesus. It defines “evangelicals” as those who strongly agree with these four statements:
• “The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.”
• “It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
• “Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.”
• “Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”
The term “evangelical” is often thrown around loosely, and many people who identify as evangelical are running away from evangelical core beliefs at an alarming rate.
As writer Michael Snyder points out, there is a great deal of discussion and confusion about “evangelical voters” and their core beliefs. Many people talk about the influence that they will have on the outcome of the presidential election.
“Most of the pundits on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News speak of evangelicals as if they were this monolithic group that all generally vote the same way and generally believe the same basic things,” Snyder writes. “Perhaps that was somewhat true at one time, but now things have dramatically changed.”
The findings of this poll are concerning. Even Ligonier said it is surprising that nearly 30 percent of evangelicals affirm the statement, believing Jesus was a good teacher and nothing more.
This is alarming! Do we even know what it means to be an “evangelical Christian” anymore?