Ask American evangelicals what they believe—and you might be surprised at the answers.
Fewer than half strongly agree with core evangelical beliefs, according to Nashville-based Lifeway Research. And many people who hold evangelical beliefs don’t call themselves evangelicals.
“There’s a gap between who evangelicals say they are and what they believe,” says Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
LifeWay’s study of evangelical believers used a set of four questions about the Bible, Jesus, salvation, and evangelism. Those questions were developed in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals. People who strongly agree with all four are considered evangelicals by belief.
Fifteen percent of Americans are evangelicals by belief, according to Lifeway Research. By contrast, 24 percent of Americans self-identify as evangelicals.
Researchers found some significant differences between the two groups.