Fifty-two percent of American adults believe that Jesus was a great teacher and nothing more. Ligonier Ministries’ biennial State of Theology survey provides key findings on what Americans think about God, truth, the Bible, worship and ethical issues. Conducted with LifeWay Research, this survey polled a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.
The Bible and the historic creeds of the Christian church plainly declare that Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man. Throughout history, critics have denied this claim, believing that Jesus was a great teacher and nothing more. The 2020 State of Theology survey reveals that a majority of American adults now hold this false view.
Historically, evangelical Christians have affirmed the authority of the Bible and salvation by Jesus Christ. The Bible testifies often to the deity of Christ; He is God incarnate, the Word made flesh (John 1:1; 8:58; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:1–4). It may not be a great surprise that the majority of the general U.S. population rejects the deity of Christ, but now almost a third of evangelicals (30 percent) agree that Jesus was merely a great teacher.
And while 66 percent of American evangelicals disagree with the statement, “Jesus was a good teacher, but he was not God,” nearly as many (65 percent) still agree with the statement, “Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.” The confusion illustrated in these results suggests a dire need for Christians to be taught Christology, the doctrine of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Stephen Nichols, chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries and president of Reformsation Bible College, said: “Statistics like these from the State of Theology survey can give us quite a shock, but they also shed light on the concerns that many American Christians and churches have expressed for decades. 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.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice