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How many are born again? How many notional Christians are there?


Barna Research has found that four out of ten adults (40%) say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in my life today, and also contend that after they die they will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.  Barna classifies this group as born again Christians.

The Barna Poll shows that numbers have not changed much over the years regarding those who do all of the following: In addition to meeting the born again criteria [described above] evangelicals also meet seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; contending that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; stating that Satan exists; maintaining that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not by being good or doing good deeds; asserting that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; saying that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. These individuals, Barna classifies as evangelical, and they constitute 7% of the adult population. Barna indicates, That number [percentage] has not changed since the Barna Group began measuring the size of the evangelical public in 1994. To avoid confusion regarding the various meanings of words, Barna states, In this framework, being classified as 'evangelical' is not dependent upon any kind of church or denominational affiliation or involvement.

Four out of ten Americans, 39% of the nation's adult population, Barna calls notional Christians. These may be attend churches, live a life according to Christian principals, read the Bible, or even be very religious. They probably believe in the Ten Commandments. They just do not meet the criteria for being born again: They have NOT made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their lives today OR they DON'T believe that after they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as savior.  They carry some of the beliefs of Christians, but have not been born into the Kingdom of God.

Barna further states that when all of the Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Secular Humanists, and others associated with non-Christian faith groups, are put together, the total comes to 21%. 

This confirms a recent Time poll that says that 82% of Americans identify themselves as Christians.

Garlow and Jones, in Cracking Da Vinci's Code, speak of the nominal church.  What Barna calls, "notional" Christians, have generally been known as nominal (in name only) Christians.  Here is how Garlow and Jones state it regarding the the church of the dark ages:

<"" />Constantine set out to form a union between the Christian church and the Roman Empire.  He gave land and money to the churches to rebuild what previous emperors had destroyed.  The church began to depend on the Roman government for money not only to finance its buildings, but also to pay its leaders.

By A.D. 380, Christianity was the officially established religion of the entire Roman Empire.  This declaration resulted, not in authentic conversion by which people willingly and knowingly embraced Christianity, but in a redefinition of what it meant to be a Christian, thus compromising authentic Christianity.  Thousands simply declared themselves (or were forced to declare themselves) to be Christian, with no understanding of what that declaration meant.  Brown's character [in the novel, The Da Vinci Code] Robert Langdon has it wrong.  Rather than Christianity crushing paganism, the paganistic influence within the church caused great confusion among the believers.

This huge influx of pagans, now calling themselves Christians, created what we are calling the nominal (in name only) church.  The church that The Da Vinci Code generally presents is this nominal church, made up of people who called themselves Christian but who had no idea what the term meant.


True believers were aghast at what they saw happening.

Cracking Da Vinci's Code goes on to explain how Christians without Christ brought about many disorders and even violence.  That is not to say that Christians don't sometimes get into the same type of rationalized speculation that causes problems for non-Christians.  This type of rationalized speculation can lead to violence as it did, at times, in the inquisition, and as it does in Atheistic Socialist countries such as Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Fascist society, North Korea, Vietnam, U.S.S.R. and Red China.  Some people apply the name Christian to themselves when they are not Christians.  They are totally disconnected from, Jesus Christ, the living Head of the universal church.  These are nominal or notional Christians.

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Last updated: Dec, 2011
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