Born Again?

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“PEOPLE WHO CALL themselves “Christian” hold a wide variety of beliefs, according to a national survey conducted by the Barna Group in October 2005. While 80 percent of American adults call themselves “Christian,” 68 percent would also describe themselves as “a committed Christian.” Fewer than half—45 percent—adopt the phrase “born-again Christian.”

Barna also asked about a two-part definition of a person’s faith that the research organization has consistently used to describe “born-again” people without actually using the term, in which they say they “have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important” and in which they claim they will go to Heaven after they die because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. That definition was claimed by less than half the respondents (44 percent).

One-quarter of those who call themselves born again did not meet the Barna criteria for born again. According to Barna, that finding generally indicates these people rely upon something other than God’s grace as their means to salvation.

Blacks were the ethnic group that used the generic “born-again” term most, with 75 percent embracing it, compared to 31 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites. While only 14 percent of Roman Catholics were comfortable describing themselves as “born-again,” 23 percent actually fit Barna’s definition of the term.

The telephone survey among a random sample of 1,002 adults has a 3.2 percent margin of error.
—The Barna Group (, November 25

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