Exactly 500 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed his famous “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, sparking the events that lead to the Protestant Reformation. Though it began half a millennium ago, the impact and legacy of the Reformation is still felt today. But what does the average American adult know about the Reformation? What do they think of it? And, perhaps more importantly, in what ways does it impact their faith?
About the Research
Interviews with U.S. adults included 1,015 web-based surveys conducted among a representative sample of adults over the age of 18 in each of the 50 United States. The survey was conducted from June 5-9 of 2017. The sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the sample to known population percentages in relation to demographic variables.
Millennials: Born between 1984 and 2002
Gen X: Born between 1965 and 1983
Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
Elders: Born between 1945 or earlier
Regular Church Attender: attended a church service in the past seven days, not including a special event such as a wedding or a funeral.
Unchurched: formerly churched (very, somewhat or minimally active) but have not attended a service in the past six months
No faith: identify as agnostic or atheist, or as having no faith
Evangelicals: meet nine specific theological criteria. They say they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their life today; believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; strongly believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; firmly believe that Satan exists; strongly believe that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; strong agree that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; strong assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent on church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church attended or self-identification. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “evangelical.”
Artwork by KateMadeGoods
Barna research is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.
© Barna Group, 2017