Survey: 3 in 5 Unchurched Americans are Christian

About three out every five unchurched persons in America are self-described Christians, according to a new survey unveiled Monday.

Notably, however, a majority of these self-identified unchurched Christians hold a biblical view of God, reports The Barna Group, which conducted the survey.

According to Barna, 68 percent of unchurched, self-identified Christians believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe and that He still rules that universe today.

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Furthermore, a much smaller but still significant proportion (35 percent) believe the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches.

The survey suggests, based on past studies, that nearly four in ten (37 percent) of unchurched Americas avoid attending church service because of painful past experiences with the church or people in the church.

The five major complaints that LifeWay Christian Resources found among the unchurched that it had interviewed previously included Christians treating other Christians poorly; Christians having "holier-than-thou" attitudes; believers talking more than they listen; Christians refusing to get involved in the lives of the unchurched; and Christians saying they believe but do not attend church.

"The unchurched really want to see a Christian live incarnationally," commented Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention .

"Most of them will gladly listen to us if we show love toward them and toward other Christians," Rainer added. "Most of them desire to see a Christian live his or her faith as well as speak about it."

According to Barna, nearly one in five (18 percent) Americans can be considered "born-again" Christians – those who say they have "made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today," and believe they will have eternal life with God only because they confess their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

Overall, the survey found that 28 percent of the U.S. adult population is unchurched, or nearly 65 million people. When the number of children living with unchurched adults is also included, the number rises to 100 million people.

Barna's latest national survey on the unchurched, conducted August 2009 through February 2010, was based upon random samples of 4,020 adults. Of those adults, 1,144 where unchurched and 703 were self-identified Christians.

The interviews were conducted by phone.

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