Are Evangelicals Likeable?
Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land:
If Evangelicals Want to Reach the World with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, We Must Show People How Much We Care on a Personal Level
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A new study from Pew Research has some unwelcome news for Evangelicals.
The more people know about different religions, the less they like Evangelicals, reports The Christian Post. This finding, says Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President Dr. Richard Land, should be dismaying to those who seek to evangelize the world.
According to the “What Americans Know About Religion” study, “Americans with a high level of religious knowledge have a warmer view of Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants and Buddhists than they have of evangelical Christians.”
“The question stemming from this study should be, ‘Why?’” Land said. “Why, when people learn about Evangelicals, does the ‘likeability’ factor decrease? Do people view Evangelicals less favorably because they tend to stand firm on the foundational teachings of Holy Scripture when it comes to marriage, homosexuality and other societal issues? Is it because Evangelicals and politics have become intertwined in many people’s minds in the recent past? Is it perhaps because the Evangelical community is indeed divided on some issues, including how to handle social justice initiatives? Whatever the reasons, it is important that Evangelicals better demonstrate their love for each and every one of their fellow human beings and their desire to see everyone come personally to a saving knowledge of Jesus as Savior and Lord. If we want to share Jesus’ Gospel with the world, we must do everything we can to show people how much we care about them personally and individually.”
Pew’s survey questions helped examine whether Americans with higher levels of religious knowledge had more positive attitudes toward various religious groups. In general, it was found that the more people know about a particular religion, the higher they would rate it on a thermometer scale ranging from zero to 100.
When it comes to evangelicals, however, respondents reflected an exception to that trend. The study found that the 11,000 respondents assigned a “mean thermometer reading” of 63 to Jews, 60 to Catholics, 60 Mainline Protestants, 57 to Buddhists, 56 to Evangelical Christians, 55 to Hindus, 51 to Mormons, 49 to Atheists and 49 to Muslims.
Headlines like these link directly into SES’s curriculum as students delve into Christian apologetics, how it applies to practical daily life, and how to rationally, intelligently and lovingly defend the historic Christian faith. Specifically, students also debate news and commentary through its “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” program. Offered primarily at just a few top-tier universities around the world, SES’s PPE program introduces students to a Christian perspective of how philosophy, politics and economics intersect, focusing on the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Karl Marx, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Sirico, Jay Richards and others. Additionally, SES often considers issues of morality and technology and how ethics intersects with both through its Center for the “Ethics of Emerging Technologies.”
SES’s 26th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) is set for Oct. 11-12 at Calvary Church in Charlotte. For the 2019 event, SES is focusing on the theme of “Why Truth Still Matters” and is welcoming some of the nation’s top apologetics speakers, including Michael Brown, Alisa Childers, Gary Habermas, SES co-founder Richard Howe, Chip Ingram, Richard Land, Mike Licona, Stephen Meyer, Jeff Myers, Hugh Ross and Frank Turek, among others. For over a quarter-century, SES’s annual conference has provided Christians with the tools, knowledge and motivation to defend their beliefs in a culture that is sometimes hostile toward Christianity. The conference will also include a special tribute to Dr. Norman Geisler, SES’s co-founder, longtime professor and President Emeritus, who passed away July 1. Learn more or register here.
For 27 years, SES has equipped students and ministry leaders to share the Gospel from an intelligent, informed and rational biblical worldview. Courses, conferences, seminars, guest speakers and more seek to accomplish this longstanding mission. Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of believers’ commitment to Christ. Therefore, SES seeks to provide an educational opportunity where the Christian worldview is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.