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Majority of evangelicals believe everyone is born innocent: survey

The overwhelming majority of U.S. evangelicals have accepted a view of human identity that aligns more with American society than the teaching of the Bible. The results are from a new survey by Ligonier Ministries.

Seventy-two percent of polled U.S. adults agreed with the statement that “Everyone is born innocent in the eyes of God.” While this is unsurprising, given the influence of humanistic philosophies and worldviews in America that teach self-determinism and a view of humankind as basically good, the survey also showed that 65 percent of polled evangelical Christians agreed with this same statement.

Evangelicals were identified as people who strongly agreed with the following 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 gift of eternal salvation.

The fact that nearly two-thirds of U.S. evangelicals believe that humans are born in a state of innocence reveals that the biblical teaching of original sin is not embraced by most evangelicals. The Bible, however, makes clear that all humans are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). In other words, we are not sinners because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This truth is foundational for an accurate understanding of the gospel and of our absolute need for the grace of God in salvation.

“Absent an understanding of the holiness of God, it is unsurprising that most people do not acknowledge the depth of their sinfulness or their need for a savior,” said Chris Larson, president and CEO of Ligonier. “Yet the fact that many Christians have been so poorly or wrongly taught on this most basic of doctrines is jarring. It was Ligonier’s founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul, who often reminded us that our corruption is a radical corruption, because it goes right to the root of our humanity.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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