Nearly 4 in ten American Evangelicals believe that God has already chosen his people for salvation before the world came into existence.
The State of Theology Survey, which was conducted by Lifeway Research in collaboration with Ligonier Ministries, found that 38 percent of evangelicals agree with the following statement: “God chose the people he would save before he created the world.” By contrast, 44 percent disagree with the aforementioned statement.
U.S. adults, however, displayed further disagreement than evangelicals with 50 percent of respondents rejecting God’s plan of salvation while 26 percent were in agreement.
In response to evangelicals, Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols explained how most Christians today have a difficult time affirming that God is sovereign in salvation, otherwise known as the doctrine of election.
For Christians who do affirm God’s election of His people, Nichols explains that “we cannot live the Christian life without it.”
“But sadly, there are many who do read their Bibles, and they attend evangelical churches, and they call themselves an evangelical, who stumble over this doctrine and outright find it offensive,” he noted. “They cannot envision a God who would violate their free will, and they cannot attribute to God this doctrine, which we would say is a biblical teaching, of divine election.”
The doctrine of election has been an oft-debated topic in the church today. Some affirm that God saves His people while rejecting others due to His sovereign choice alone (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:4; Titus 1:2), while others affirm that God saves those who choose him out of their own free will.
The State of Theology is a biannual survey that examines “the theological temperature of the United States to help Christians better understand today’s culture and equip the church with better insights for discipleship.”
The 2020 edition was completed in March with 3002 respondents, noting that evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly affirmed the following 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.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.