Americans experienced seismic changes over the past two years, including, for many, how they attend church. The shift in behavior coincides with a shift in theology.
The biennial State of Theology study conducted by Lifeway Research found relative stability in some of the religious and cultural beliefs U.S. adults hold. After months of quarantines and social distancing, however, Americans increasingly believe worshiping apart from a church is as good as attending church services.
For more information on the 2022 State of Theology:
- View the complete report
- Read the white paper
- Visit TheStateOfTheology.com to dive deeper with a data explorer
- View trends over the years at LifewayResearch.com/TheologyTrends
State of Theology study in the news:
- Christianity Today: Top 5 Heresies Among American Evangelicals
- The Washington Times: Americans, Including Evangelicals, Hold Widely Divergent Views on Basic Christian Tenets
- KLOVE: ‘Jesus Was Created, God Not Perfect’ – Sobering New Study: Americans Hold Many More Biblically-Inaccurate Views
- Baptist Press: Americans’ Theological Beliefs Changed to Suit Post-Pandemic Practice
- Church Leaders: Lifeway Research: Americans’ Theological Beliefs Changed to Suit Post-Pandemic Practice
- Christian Newswire: Identity Confusion in the Church: Majority of U.S. Christians Don’t Know Who They Are, According to New Survey From Ligonier Ministries
- Southern Baptist Texan: Lifeway Study Reveals Americans’ Theological Beliefs Continue to Shift Post-Pandemic
- Trevin Wax: The Distressing State of Evangelicals and Theology
- Reformatorisch Dagblad (Netherlands): Orthodox Biblical Faith Loses Ground in US
- Biblical Recorder: Americans’ Theological Beliefs Changed to Suit Post-Pandemic Practice
- WORLD podcast, “The World and Everything in It”: Checking America’s theological temperature
- The Gospel Coalition: The State of Theology: What Evangelicals Believe in 2022
- Christian Headlines: Does God Accept the Worship of All Religions?
- The Baptist Paper: Americans’ theological beliefs reveal shift in post-pandemic world, study shows
- The Roys Report: Survey: Most Evangelicals Say Worship Alone Is ‘Valid Replacement’ for Church
- The Washington Times: Scripture engagement, in-person church key to solving evangelicals’ belief crisis, experts say
- Christian Post: Most Evangelicals say worshiping alone is a ‘valid replacement’ for church attendance: poll
- Baptist Messenger: Americans’ Theological Beliefs Changed to Suit Post-Pandemic Practice
- Guiame (Brazil): Post-pandemic: the number of Christians who replace church with search ‘at home’ grows
- Pleno News (Brazil): Survey: Home worship replaces church for most Christians
- Black Christian News: Top 5 Heresies Prevalent Among American Evangelical Christians
- Christian Today: Most evangelicals see worshipping alone as a valid replacement for going to church
- Christianity Today: The Rise of the Evangelical Heretic
- The Atlantic: Evangelicals Decenter Jesus
More than half of Americans say religious beliefs are a matter of personal opinion, not objective facts. And that’s made clear by examining the varying, and sometimes contradictory, theological doctrines they hold.
For 54% of Americans, theological beliefs are not a matter of objective truth, but rather belong in the category of subjective personal opinion.
For more information on the 2020 State of Theology:
Six in 10 Americans say religious belief is a matter of personal opinion. For 7 in 10 Americans, such religious beliefs include one true God existing in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And a similar number who say God is perfect. But an increasing majority of Americans deny Jesus has always existed and many say the Holy Spirit is a force rather than a personal being.
“When the majority of Americans believe religious belief is more personal opinion than objective truth, then we expect to see contradictory beliefs and beliefs that change over time,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
For more information on the 2018 State of Theology:
Americans don’t know much about theology. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.
Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths.
Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, says most Americans still identify as Christians. But they seem to be confused about some of the details of their faith.
For more information on the 2016 State of Theology:
Most Americans believe in heaven, hell, and a few old-fashioned heresies.
Americans disagree about mixing religion and politics and about the Bible. And few pay much heed to their pastor’s sermons or see themselves as sinners.
Those are among the findings of a new study of American views about Christian theology from Nashville-based Lifeway Research. The online survey of 3,000 Americans was commissioned by Orlando-based Ligonier Ministries.
Stephen Nichols, chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries, says the study was intended to “take the temperature of America’s theological health.”
Ligonier founder and chairman, R.C. Sproul, says, “What comes screaming through this survey is the pervasive influence of humanism.”
Researchers asked 43 questions about faith, covering topics from sin and salvation to the Bible and the afterlife. They wanted to know how people in the pews—and people on the street—understand theology.
For more information on the 2014 State of Theology: