Evangelicals

The Evangelical Alliance has produced a survey of ‘Evangelical Christians’. The survey sample was made up of people attending large Christian events and a selection of churches who belong to the Alliance. However, given that 96% of those responding said they attended church weekly and 76% a small group I conclude that the sample is primarily of those who are most committed to the local church; not least because here at PBC we typically get 65% of the church turn up each Sunday.

Given the respondents were among the most committed to the local church it is the more noteworthy that only 62% think sex outside marriage is wrong; 37% strongly agree that hell is a place where the condemned will suffer eternal conscious pain. I’m not sure whether the statistics which say over half believe women should be eligible for all roles in church whereas 20% disagree is a cause for rejoicing or repentance (probably the latter). And the statistics which say that 55% don’t think it is wrong to have homosexual feelings whereas two thirds think homosexual actions are always wrong may demonstrate an evangelical desire to separate feelings and actions but also raise suspicions that we haven’t thought deeply enough about this.

For me the only surprise in the figures is the breakdown by age. The statistics should that young people are less likely to consider themselves evangelical, but there is a significant jump between the 16-24 year olds and the 25-34 year olds. My experience suggests that the tipping point is more likely to be around 40, so I would be interested to see how they get to the statistics and if they are the product of the sample selection including those who attend Christian festivals rather than local churches.

Of course the questions themselves, which cover attitudes to Scripture, giving and community engagement, give a snapshot of the thinking of the EA; not least because someone thought these were key indicators of the things that matter.

You can download the report  Download 21st-Century-Evangelicals-PDF or go to the EA’s website here for more information.

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  1. What interests/worries me most about this document is that evangelical 16-24 year olds are less likely to think that women should be eligible for all roles in church as men are. I am not overly surprised by that, as the university at which I was a student would not allow a female President of the CU until this year. But considering the majority of 16-24 year olds that attend church are themselves female, there is a massive challenge to understand why that trend is there in young women. As a woman who fits in that age bracket I would suggest a good starting place would be a careful examination of the teaching given to teenage girls – I have lost count of the number of times I have been told to “be humble” in a way which could really mean “we affirm your lack of self esteem”.

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