A survey into the theological understanding of evangelical Christians in the UK found many areas where researchers say pluralism has influenced believers’ doctrine.
Comres conducted a poll for Ligonier Ministries, a discipleship organisation founded by the American theologian R.C. Sproul, to look into what self-professing Christians in the UK thought.
They asked a series of in-depth questions about the Trinity, the authority of the Bible, the nature of Jesus and his role in salvation and whether people thought it was necessary to evangelise.
Some of the responses revealed that many evangelicals had parted from doctrines previously considered Biblical truths.
For example, 64% agreed either strongly or somewhat that God accepts the worship of those in other religions.
42% strongly disagreed with the statement “Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation”, with a further 20% disagreeing somewhat.
Dr Stephen Nichols, Chief Academic officer at Ligonier Ministries and the President of Reformation Bible College in Florida, told Premier Christian Radio: “This is a pretty intense survey and it has pretty intense questions and so it’s a way of diving deep beneath the surface to really uncover what people believe about God, the Bible, Jesus, salvation and also some key ethical issues.
“What we’re seeing here is the influence of the culture around us, the pluralism of our day, the ethic of simply tolerating religious views and we’re taking our cues from culture when we really need to be taking our cues from God’s word and from the Bible”.
While some answers fell in line with orthodox understanding, such as 84% practising Christians believing that God is perfect and cannot make a mistake, Dr Nichols said other results were worth noting by the UK church:
“It’s actually tragic when you look at the survey and you see so many saying ‘I don’t knows’ – these aren’t just matters of life and death, these are matters of eternal life and eternal death. There can’t be any more consequential questions than the questions on this survey and so these ‘I don’t knows’ are really troubling”