Pew Forum recently came out with the finding of a new survey. The results are very interesting. The greatest finding was that most people in general in the USA do not know very much about religion. The finding that most intrigued me is that, according to their report, most evangelicals do not understand the gospel.Fewer than one-in-five people (16%) correctly identify Protestantism as the faith that traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith alone. Most people get this question wrong: 9% say this teaching is traditionally associated with Catholicism, 38% say it is traditionally associated with both Protestantism and Catholicism, 10% say it is not normally associated with either faith and more than a quarter (27%) say they do not know the answer. White evangelicals (28% correct), Mormons (22%) and atheists/agnostics (22%) perform better than other groups on this question. However, even among these groups, many more people get the answer wrong than get it right.6
Now this is very ironic because the word evangelical is built from the word evangel which is the greek root word that we often translate "gospel" in the Bible. If anyone should understand the gospel it should be evangelicals. Without an understanding that we are saved or justified (made righteous) by faith alone in Christ alone one cannot be a true Christian.
It makes me think of what Paul said to the Galatians:
Galatians 1 (NASB95)1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),
2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
If you are confused about this issue and wondering how a person can be saved, please visit the Crossroads Bible Church website and click on "Why Am I Here?".