*As many of us have found, defining an Evangelical Christian is a difficult task. The Barna Group, has found that allowing folks in surveys to randomly self-identify as Evangelical is close to useless when it comes to the accuracy of the survey. For that reason, the Barna Group has tightly defined who qualifies as an Evangelical Christian. They don’t present Evangelical as a category by which folks can self-identify in their surveys of the population, but instead identify Evangelical Christians by their responses to a series of questions regarding their faith. Folks are identified as Evangelical if they believe the following;
saying they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their life today; believing that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.
With this in mind, as well as other tightly defined terms; practicing Christian, non-practicing Christian, practicing non-mainline Protestant and practicing mainline Protestant, the Barna Group conducted a national survey of the US shortly after the release of the US Supreme Court decision that legalized same-gender marriage across the country.
David Kinnamen, who is the president of the Barna Group and was the director of the study, has made three conclusions based on the results;
- Evangelicals, 20 million people in the US by the Barna definition, deeply oppose same-gender marriage (94% disagree with the Supreme Court decision)
- the divide in how young folks who are practicing Christians and who are non-practicing or lapsed Christians feel toward same-gender marriage is profound
- 1 in 5 feel that Christian ministers should be legally compelled to officiate same-gender marriages and 2 in 5 feel that businesses should have to provide services for same-gender weddings
Because the last two involve the feelings and beliefs of the younger adult population, they could become future dividing lines for the overall US culture and changes in how Christians may experience their self-perceived religious freedoms.
Read the full published report of the survey at the Barna Group.
The image is from cbs.com