60% of Americans Say Jesus is Salvation, Poll Shows

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Three in five, or 60%, of Americans believe that they can find salvation through Jesus Christ.

A new LifeWay Research survey shows that most Americans believe that trusting Jesus as their only way to eternal salvation.

The State of Theology report found that a quarter of U.S. adults (26%) believe in predestination or the doctrine that states salvation was determined long ago and that God already chose the people He would save before He even created the world.

Three in 5 (60%) believe only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation. —The State of Theology 2020

More than half of Americans or 66% say they believe what the Bible says about Jesus’ resurrection. They agree that Jesus physically rose from the dead.

When it comes to the doctrine of the Trinity, the study shows contrasting results. About three in four Americans believe in the Christian doctrine that there is one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, 52% believe that Jesus was just a great teacher, only human, and not God while 59% agree that the Holy Spirit is a force but not a personal being.

“Christianity has historically started with an understanding of God as the Creator and source of reality itself,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “While many Americans repeat with agreement a definition of this one Triune God, a further look at their beliefs reveals a majority do not believe in each Person of the Trinity as described in the Bible.”

While Americans might have confusing beliefs regarding the Trinity, 65% have the conviction that God is a perfect being and cannot make a mistake. Two-thirds of adults say God accepts the worship of all religions, may it be Christianity, Islam, or Judaism.

When asked about sin, a growing number of American adults (26%) believe that “even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.” Two-thirds of the respondents say everyone sins a little, but most people are good in nature.

“There has been a slow but steady increase in the portion of Americans believing that the deserving punishment for any sin is eternal damnation,” said McConnell. “While the number believing in hell has been steady, those who believe God doesn’t give any free passes for small sins has increased from 18% in 2014 to 26% today.”

Fifty-six percent of Americans believe that a person’s faith in Christ is what’s important to God. A third of Americans (36%) believes in the prosperity gospel wherein God showers a righteous person with material blessings in this life.

The biennial State of Theology study found that 34% of adults in the country believe that “modern science disproves the Bible.”

Almost 48% believe the Bible is 100% accurate, while the same percentage claim that the Scripture and other religious materials may be helpful but “not literally true.”

During this pandemic where church doors are closed, 58% of Americans agree that worshiping alone is a good alternative to attending in-worship services in church.

“While the pandemic suspended the ability to gather as a local church for worship, a large minority of Americans recognize there is something more to this assembly that a family cannot accomplish on their own,” McConnell said.

McConnell added that, “Most Americans treat theology like a choose-your-own-adventure book. It’s clear from certain beliefs that some people feel truth as something people are free to define on their own, and in doing so they possess seemingly incompatible beliefs.”

The survey interviewed more than 3,000 Americans.

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Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.