March 2018

Baptist editors affirm state executives

March 2 2018 by Baptist and Reflector staff

During the annual meeting of the Association of State Baptist Publications held in Galveston, Texas, Baptist editors affirmed the work of Baptist state convention executive directors.

J. Gerald Harris

Editors unanimously adopted “A Resolution of Appreciation for State Executive Directors.”
The resolution was presented by Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index in Georgia, who noted he enjoys a good relationship with his state executive director, J. Robert White.
“According to my research there has never been a resolution expressing appreciation for these capable leaders and faithful followers of our Lord,” Harris said during the meeting held Feb. 12-15.
“In my opinion these Baptist leaders commission and lead their state missionaries/staff to be the boots on the ground in their various states to encourage pastors and provide essential resources for our churches and they lead the charge through their influence and example. It is a recognition long overdue,” the Georgia editor affirmed.
Baptist and Reflector Editor Lonnie Wilkey voted for the resolution.
“The men who lead our state conventions play an important role in Great Commission work,” he said. “We appreciate what they do to advance the Kingdom in the respective states in which they serve,” Wilkey said.
The resolution noted that the health of Baptist state conventions are “undergirded and strengthened by the Christian statesmanship and able leadership of our state executive directors.”
The resolution noted there are “those in Southern Baptist life who fail to recognize the extreme value of state conventions/mission boards and do not seem to realize that those state conventions/mission boards are an essential link between the national convention and the local church.”
The editors affirmed their appreciation for their partnership in ministry with state execs and offered their prayer support, “realizing that their strategic positions are often challenging and demanding, involving long hours and weighty responsibility that often garner more criticism than praise.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Story compiled by Baptist and Reflector staff, news journal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.)

3/2/2018 10:46:07 AM by Baptist and Reflector staff | with 0 comments

Shootings spark gun control discussion among Baptists

March 1 2018 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Amid a tragic stream of mass shootings – including incidents in Las Vegas; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Marshall County, Ky.; and now Parkland, Fla. – Southern Baptists have offered a range of proposals on gun control.
While details of the proposals differ, their advocates agree the ultimate problem behind gun violence is spiritual and that believers should not allow differences on gun policy to divide them.
“Gun control, admittedly, is a culturally divisive topic,” wrote Todd Deaton, editor of Kentucky’s Western Recorder news journal, one of at least three Baptist state papers to address gun violence in the past two weeks, “but it’s part of a conversation the church needs to help lead our society to have constructively ... for the sake of our children, for the sake of our congregants, for the sake of our communities.”
Deaton wrote in a Feb. 20 editorial that followers of Jesus should “acknowledge” that gun policy “is a very complex social issue” while avoiding “insults” and “tired rhetoric.”
Possible topics of discussion for churches, Deaton wrote, include “responsible gun ownership”; “increased security measures” at schools and houses of worship; “mental health issues”; depictions of violence “in movies, television and video games”; and “the biblical values of love of self and love of neighbor.”
Gerald Harris, editor of Georgia’s Christian Index news journal, offered several suggestions for curbing school shootings in a Feb. 21 editorial, though he stopped short of advocating laws to restrict the purchase of firearms.
“A more careful scrutiny of those seeking to buy guns and more effective background checks would probably be helpful,” Harris wrote, “but if you expect me to become a champion of gun control as a means of curbing school shooting[s] you will be disappointed.”
Harris added, “Those who go on killing sprees are people with mental or psychotic illnesses, people who become agents of the devil, people who hate, people who are angry and if guns were not available they would find some other weapon like explosives, poisons or some other nefarious means of destruction.”
Among Harris’ proposals were arming qualified teachers in schools, following up “on reports of individuals who give warning signs that they are bent on violence,” combating violence in the media and holding children accountable at home.
In a column submitted to Baptist Press, Maryland pastor James Dixon asked Christians to consider voluntarily getting rid of their guns to highlight the priority of spiritual solutions to violence in America.
“One effective way for Christians to exemplify God’s precepts and examples here on earth is to totally surrender our guns and embrace the full armor of God,” wrote Dixon, pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md. “When mankind sees we live in this world but are not of this world, and are willing to give our lives for the Kingdom of God, it is then, only then, that a divine change will take place in our society.
“We human beings do not have the physical capacity to protect ourselves from Satan,” wrote Dixon, a former president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We can purchase all the guns in the world and it still wouldn’t be enough to protect us from evil, because it was God’s original plan that He’d be the one who provides eternal protection for His people.”
A Feb. 21 op-ed in the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Baptist Standard news journal suggested Christians give up their guns as a form of fasting during Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter.
“When we as Christians cannot think of giving up something, it is a sign that it has occupied its seat in the house too long, a houseguest long overstayed,” Myles Werntz, a professor at Hardin-Simmons University, wrote in the Standard.
Texas pastor Dwight McKissic said in a series of tweets following the Parkland shooting that individuals “under age 21 should not be able to legally purchase a high-capacity gun, of any type, designed to kill humans.” He also commended “young people” for participating in “demonstrations to bring common sense gun laws to America.”
“The Bible says, woe unto him who gives strong drink to his neighbor,” McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, tweeted Feb. 23. “Implication: the one supplying the drink is as responsible for consequences as the consumer. NRA/GOP/Evangelicals makes the AR15 [semi-automatic rifle] available. That makes them complicit. Surely we can agree to outlaw AR15’s? Surely!”
A month following the murder of 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, ethicist Russell Moore urged believers to keep the gun control debate in perspective and not allow political opinions about weapons to become their priority.
“Often our cultural and moral and political debates are important,” Moore wrote in a December 2017 commentary. “Offering one’s opinion is fine and good, sometimes even necessary. But if our passions demonstrate that these things are most important to us, and to our identity, we have veered into a place we do not want to go.”
Two years earlier, following the shooting deaths of 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., Moore wrote that gun control debates “should not divide” Christians. While views about gun laws should “be shaped by [s]cripture and the church,” there is no “’Thus saith the Lord’ command” on gun control “with the authority of [s]cripture.”
For his part, Moore said he holds “traditionally conservative views on the Second Amendment as a personal and individual right.”
Still, Moore wrote in a January 2016 commentary, “I do not think that our debates over gun control are debates over whether or not we will be pro-life. The question of gun control is a different question than the question of gun violence itself. The gun control debate isn’t between people who support the right to shoot innocent people and those who don’t. It’s instead a debate about what’s prudent, and what’s not, in solving the common goal of ending criminally violent behavior.
“That’s why orange-vested National Rifle Association members and Birkenstock-wearing vegan gun-control advocates can exist as the Body of Christ,” Moore wrote, “in the same church without excommunicating one another.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

3/1/2018 10:15:52 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Bipartisan anti-sex trafficking bill passes House

March 1 2018 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Sex advertising websites and their users would face penalties for sex trafficking under a bill passed by the U.S. House Feb. 27, amending a law that had shielded such offenders. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

Screen capture from YouTube
Ann Wagner, who authored a bill the U.S. House passed Feb. 27 to prosecute online sex traffickers, testifies about the legislation before the House Rules Committee.

A bipartisan group of 388 legislators passed H.R. 1865, termed the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA),” to amend Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934. Section 230 had limited the legal liability of interactive computer service providers or users for content they publish that was created by others, according to a summary at
The House bill would establish monetary fines and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for abusers who use or operate a “facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or attempts to do so with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.”
Abuses involving aggravated circumstances, such as reckless disregard for the support of sex trafficking or the promotion of prostitution involving at least five persons, could draw 25-year prison terms.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is among nearly 60 supporters of the bill, including nonprofit and for-profit groups from religious, community, government, technology and finance sectors.
“Southern Baptist churches believe human trafficking is particularly heinous because it is an assault on the image of God on every life,” Travis Wussow, ERLC general counsel and vice president for public policy, told Baptist Press (BP) Feb. 27. “Currently, America’s modern-day slave markets utilize the internet to traffic the vulnerable. This must stop.”
Bill author Ann Wagner, R-Mo., called out online advertising site when she introduced the bill in April 2017.
“FOSTA will produce more prosecutions of bad actor websites, more convictions and put more predators behind bars,” Wagner said in a press release upon the bill’s passage. “It will give victims a pathway to justice and provide a meaningful criminal deterrent, so that fewer businesses will ever enter the sex trade, and fewer victims will ever be sold.”
A companion Senate bill 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, has been on the Senate’s legislative calendar since Jan. 10.
“I encourage the Senate to take swift action on this legislation to ensure that victims have a pathway to justice,” she said, “and that the businesses that sell our children online can no longer do so with impunity.”
Bill supporter Donna Rice Hughes, president of the internet-safety advocacy group Enough is Enough, applauded the House for passing the bill.
“FOSTA sends a strong message to federal courts who have for far too long misinterpreted Congress’s original intent of section 230 ... allowing such websites to be shielded from claims of sex trafficking victims while profiting to the tune of millions,” Hughes said in a news release. “The overwhelming bipartisan vote is a critical step towards draining the cyberswamp of commercial sexploitation by the sellers and buyers of women and children and the companies who shield them.”
In addition to criminal and civil penalties, the House bill mandates restitution and allows victims of aggravated offenses to file federal civil action, according to
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), a supporter of the legislation, has termed Backpage a “hub” for prostitution advertising, and included the site on its 2018 Dirty Dozen List of the leading facilitators of sexual exploitation. The site has been prosecuted for sex-related crimes, but has avoided criminal liability by using Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 as a defense.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)

3/1/2018 10:10:18 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Pence: Christian communicators needed ‘more than ever’

March 1 2018 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

In a time plagued by evil, Americans need the ministry and message provided by Christian communicators, Vice President Mike Pence said Feb. 27 at the National Religious Broadcasters’ (NRB) annual convention.

NRB Photo
Vice President Mike Pence spoke Feb. 27 at Proclaim 18, the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention in Nashville.

Speaking at the afternoon session of Proclaim 18, NRB’s 75th gathering, Pence told the audience of communication professionals, “[Y]our ministry, your message, your values are needed now more than ever before. ... Every day, every hour, you speak strength to the heart of the American people. You shape our country. You water the roots of this nation.”
The vice president said, “[Y]ou have the power to strengthen the character of this nation.”
In introducing Pence, NRB President & CEO Jerry A. Johnson described the vice president as a long-time “champion for life and liberty” who had his own radio program before being elected to Congress in 2000. Pence – who served as a congressman for 12 years and as Indiana’s governor for four – received NRB’s Faith and Freedom Award in 2009.
Pence surveyed for the crowd the advances by the Donald Trump administration on a number of issues in its first year, including protecting the sanctity of human life and religious liberty. Near the end of his speech, he turned toward the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., that resulted in the deaths of 17 students and adults.
“As a nation, we mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve,” he said before making a promise.
With President Trump’s leadership and the support of Congress and the states, “We will not rest until we make our schools safe,” Pence said before adding the government is unable to accomplish this by itself.
“[L]et’s recognize the evil that’s been afoot in our nation for too long cannot be fixed by legislation alone, although legislation we need,” he said. “Nor can it be fixed by law enforcement alone, though law enforcement we need to support.
“What we also need is greatness of heart, gentleness of spirit, the greatness that makes us respect [others despite differences],” Pence told listeners who gave him several standing ovations. “What we need is that shared sense of belonging again, one to another, each to all. That timeless value that made us great before will make us great again.”
In addition, Americans need “to encourage more personal responsibility and speak more not less about virtue,” he said. “What we need is to strengthen the bonds of community, family and faith. We must work to re-inspire society. ... [W]e need to revive the rich heritage of faith that can help repair the torn fabric of society.”
The vice president pointed to the late evangelist Billy Graham as a model for the Christian communicators. Graham died Feb. 21 at the age of 99. His body will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Feb. 28-Mar. 1.
Graham’s message “transcended politics,” Pence said. “So must yours.”
His message sprang from what has been for millions of Americans hope for the present and the future, the vice president said. “So let’s redeem the time by renewing the faith.”
The vice president recalled the impact Graham’s preaching had on his own family’s life. Pence and his wife Karen took their children to the 1999 evangelistic meeting at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. They were seated high in the stadium when “Just as I Am” was sung as the invitation hymn, he said. Their 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter stepped out to go forward, and their father accompanied them to the floor, where the children prayed with a volunteer.
“I’ll always believe in my heart of hearts that night, that walk, and that prayer – just like it did for millions of Americans – made a lasting difference,” Pence said.
Pence described the Trump administration’s first year as one of “promises made and promises kept.” Among those pledges fulfilled, Pence cited:

  • The move this May to Jerusalem of the American embassy in Israel.
  • The restoration of a pro-life, family planning policy internationally and the empowering of states to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • The nomination, followed by the confirmation, of conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and other conservative judicial nominations.
  • The direct support of Christian and other religious minorities in need of humanitarian relief instead of United Nations programs it considers ineffective.

Regarding the administration’s record on religious liberty, Pence said, “This gathering knows all too well freedom of religion is under assault across the wide world. President Trump has made promoting religious freedom a foreign policy priority.”
Domestically, the Trump White House “will always defend the right of Americans to speak and live out their convictions,” the vice president told the audience. He thanked NRB for all it has done for faith and freedom.
Early in his speech, Pence introduced Ben Carson, a member of the Trump cabinet also known for his Christian faith. Speaking briefly, Carson told the audience, “We have to stop being silent. Our job as people of faith is to do what’s right.”
The NRB is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. The organization’s mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence and defend free speech.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode writes for National Religious Broadcasters. He also is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)

3/1/2018 8:52:30 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Stetzer undergirds evangelism at Billy Graham Center

March 1 2018 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Ed Stetzer works amid the aura of Billy Graham each day at Wheaton College.
Stetzer, a longtime Southern Baptist denominational personality who began as a church planter in Buffalo, N.Y., joined Wheaton’s faculty in 2016 as the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism and as executive director of the college’s Billy Graham Center.

Submitted photo
Longtime Southern Baptist denominational personality Ed Stetzer plants new roots as director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center.

“Holding the Billy Graham chair” – an academic post, “not a literal chair” – “reminds me each day of the importance of prioritizing a verbal gospel witness,” Stetzer told Baptist Press (BP).
“I feel an even greater burden for the proclamation of the gospel. It’s always been a passion. I’ve been in church planting, I’ve seen a lot of people reached for the gospel, I’ve written on church revitalization.”
Yet there is “a special responsibility with the center being named after Billy Graham that we might carry the flag that churches might see a greater sense of gospel witness.”
When Stetzer was a staff member at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) former Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board), his vice president made a practice of asking at each staff meeting about their personal witness to someone who wasn’t a Christian.
“We never knew who he was going to ask, and it had to be this week,” Stetzer recounted, saying it’s a practice he’s adopted at the Billy Graham Center.
“I told our staff [in 2016] we can’t work at a place named after Billy Graham and not be able to answer every week who we have shared the gospel with,” Stetzer said.
Particularly at a time when “verbal gospel witness seems to be at an all-time low” among Southern Baptists as well as evangelicals in general, Stetzer underscored, “We want the words, the commission of Jesus to be our priority.”

Before his time

Stetzer never met Billy Graham, who died Feb. 21 at age 99. The evangelist’s breakthrough meetings in Los Angeles in 1949 and at New York’s Madison Square Garden happened long before Stetzer was born in 1966.
“I’m the age of Billy Graham’s grandchildren,” Stetzer said. “Not just his children but his grandchildren.” Among his friends are Will Graham, oldest son of Franklin Graham and vice president and associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
Stetzer will co-host the live stream of Graham’s funeral on Friday, March 2, with Jim Kirkland, BGEA executive director for audio media, from the ministry’s radio studio in Charlotte. The broadcast, to air on the Moody Radio Network and other outlets, will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern time, moving into coverage of the funeral which begins at noon.
Stetzer’s first interaction with the Graham organization came in 1988 in Buffalo through one of the evangelist’s 400-plus crusades.
Planting Calvary Christian Church through the Home Mission Board, Stetzer led its members to attend the crusade’s evangelistic training and went door-to-door to invite people to attend the nightly meetings.
“[We] probably had two or three families from the follow-up cards we got from the crusade, in addition to one or two families that we brought [to hear Graham preach] and responded to the gospel there,” Stetzer recalled.
Growing up in Levitttown, N.Y., outside New York City in an unchurched home, Stetzer can’t recall the first time he heard Graham’s name. After his family moved to the Orlando area, he became a Christian at an Episcopal youth camp in Florida around 1977.
“When I went off to college, I wanted to go to a Christian school that had a good connection to a medical school” for pre-med studies, so he enrolled at the Baptist-affiliated Shorter College (now Shorter University) in Rome, Ga.
“While there I became a Southern Baptist convictionally. My views had changed on baptism and the Episcopal Church was rapidly going in a different direction, so I wanted something that was theologically more in line with where I was.”
Stetzer joined a Southern Baptist church, became a youth pastor, was licensed to the ministry at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church and ordained as a 20-year-old at Calvary Baptist Church, both in Rome, before venturing into church planting. While in Buffalo, he studied for five years at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension center in Pittsburgh, driving four hours each way, often battling winter snowstorms.

The trek to Chicagoland

At Wheaton, Stetzer isn’t the lone Southern Baptist.
“Wheaton is an evangelical institution. I fit in fine,” said the popular speaker and author who led LifeWay Research and The Gospel Project curriculum during nine years with LifeWay Christian Resources. “Southern Baptists are well-connected here. We have professors who are Southern Baptists and speakers who are Southern Baptists.
“It’s about the same as working in Southern Baptist life,” he added in lighthearted fashion. “There are areas on baptism where people here differ or Pentecostal gifts where people differ and things of that sort.” His cross-denominational ministry since moving to Wheaton includes serving as the Graham-founded Lausanne Movement’s regional director for North America in advancing international missions causes and networking and, on an interim basis, as teaching pastor at Moody Church in Chicago.
At the Billy Graham Center, with a 1979 cornerstone, Stetzer is part of a range of initiatives that include evangelism in denominational outreach and church planting and in major cities, rural communities, college campuses and prisons.
Also at the center is the Museum of American Evangelism, informally known as the Billy Graham Museum, a 20,000-square-foot facility at the Chicago-area college.
While he was living, “Mr. Graham wouldn’t let us put up as much Billy Graham displays as we would have liked. He was concerned that the museum not be about him,” Stetzer said. With his death, “We now think it’s quite appropriate to have more ... to let people know this is a Billy Graham story.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

3/1/2018 8:48:18 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Relationship between evangelicals and Jews studied

March 1 2018 by Bob Smietana, Facts & Trends

American evangelicals are known for their support of the nation of Israel – believing God promised that land to the Jewish people. But a new study shows they also have some more personal motivations.

One in 3 has Jewish friends.
And a few have Jewish ethnicity.
Two percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs – an estimated 871,000 adult Americans – also have a Jewish parent or grandparent, according to a recent study by LifeWay Research, conducted Sept. 20-28.
“For some evangelicals, the Jewish community is family,” says Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
Lifeway Research’s finding is bolstered by an earlier study by Pew Research.
That 2013 study found that about 1.6 million Americans who have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish say they are Christians. The recent Lifeway Research study suggests that a sizable number of this group have evangelical beliefs.
The LifeWay Research study also found 30 percent of Americans with evangelical beliefs have Jewish friends – and of those, about a third (35 percent) have prayed for their Jewish friend’s salvation in the past week.

“Evangelicals say it’s important to share their faith with their Jewish friends,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But most evangelicals find this to be difficult for one reason or another.”
And evangelicals who do share their faith with their Jewish friends may find a reluctant audience.
While many Americans are open to changing their faith, American Jews are more reluctant. Only a quarter of those who were raised Jewish no longer identify with that faith, according to a study from Pew Research.
By comparison, 34 percent of all Americans have changed their childhood faith group, according to Pew. That figure jumps to 42 percent after taking into account those who switch to a different Christian tradition.
Some Jewish people feel distant from evangelicals. When asked to rate how warmly they felt about other faiths, American Jews were lukewarm toward evangelicals, rating them only slightly above Muslims and below atheists, according to Pew Research. Jews have warmer feelings about Catholics and mainline Protestants.
Still, among Americans who identify as Jews, a third (34 percent) say that someone can believe Jesus is the Messiah and still be considered Jewish, according to Pew Research.

Uncertain relationships

Another complicating factor in the relations between evangelicals and Jews: Evangelicals seem unclear about the relationship between Jews and Christians and how Jews fit into God’s plan, according to the survey, which was underwritten by Chosen People Ministries and author Joel C. Rosenberg.
Just over a quarter (28 percent) embrace “supersessionism” or replacement theology – the claim that the Christian church “has fulfilled or replaced the nation of Israel in God’s plan.” A greater percentage, 41 percent reject that idea, while 32 percent are not sure.
Younger evangelical believers – those between 18 and 34 – are more likely to say Christians have replaced Jews in God’s plan. Thirty-four percent agree, while 30 percent disagree. Thirty-six percent are not sure.
By contrast, 48 percent of evangelicals 65 and older disagree with replacement theology. Twenty-three percent agree, while 29 percent are not sure.
Americans with evangelical beliefs also are uncertain whether many Jews will become believers in Jesus sometime in the future.
About half (55 percent) believe “the Bible teaches that one day, most or all Jewish people, alive at that time, will believe in Jesus.” Sixteen percent disagree, and 29 percent are unsure.
While evangelicals see a clear tie between Bible prophecy and the rebirth of the nation of Israel, they’re less certain whether Jewish people play a role in the return of Jesus.
About half (47 percent) agree with the statement, “Jewish people continue to be significant for the history of redemption as Jesus will return when the Jewish people accept Jesus.” Twenty-three percent disagree, while 31 percent are not sure.
“Many evangelicals believe the gospel will be spread to all people in the world before Jesus returns,” McConnell said. “But they aren’t sure if Jewish people have a special place in God’s plan anymore – this is especially true of young evangelicals.”


LifeWay Research conducted the study Sept. 20-28, 2017. The survey, underwritten by Chosen People Ministries and author Joel C. Rosenberg was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population.
Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. People in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel. For those who agree to participate but do not already have internet access, the market research company GfK provides at no cost a laptop and ISP connection.
Sample stratification and weights were used for gender by age, ethnicity, region, education and household income to reflect the most recent U.S. Census data. The completed sample is 2,002 surveys. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 2.7 percent. Margins of error are higher in subgroups.
Respondents were screened to include only adults with evangelical beliefs. Evangelical beliefs are defined using the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) LifeWay Research Evangelical Beliefs Research Definition based on respondent beliefs. Respondents are asked their level of agreement with four separate statements using a four-point, forced-choice scale (strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree). Respondents are categorized as having evangelical beliefs if they strongly agree with all 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 free gift of eternal salvation.

For more information on this study, visit
LifeWay Research is a Nashville-based, evangelical research firm that specializes in surveys about faith in culture and matters that affect churches.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Bob Smietana is senior writer for Facts & Trends.)

3/1/2018 8:44:09 AM by Bob Smietana, Facts & Trends | with 0 comments

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