Nearly nine out of ten senior pastors of Protestant churches said they agree strongly that Jesus is the only path to salvation, reported a study.
The study was conducted by Ellison Research, a full-service marketing research firm in Phoenix, for the September/October issue of LifeWay's Facts & Trends magazine. The firm surveyed 700 Protestant ministers representing all Protestant denominations and all 50 states.
In response to the statement, "Regardless of what other faiths believe, Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation,” a higher percentage of pastors, 96%, belonging to National Association of Evangelicals said they agreed strongly with the statement than those of National Council of Churches, 65%.
Denomination association also affected different ministers’ responses. All Pentecostal ministers who participated in the study agreed that Jesus is the only way to salvation while 98% of Southern Baptist ministers agreed. Ellison reported that 77% of Lutheran ministers agreed, trailed by 65% of Methodists.
While around 82% of Protestant ministers agreed strongly that it "is a Christian's responsibility to try to lead people to believe in Christ, including active members of non-Christian faith groups," nine out of ten pastors from NAE strongly agreed compared to five out of ten pastors from NCC.
The study also shows that although a majority of respondents "would be willing to partner with a local non-Christian faith group to accomplish something good for your community,” few had personal relationships with leaders from other faith groups.
Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, was not surprised.
"Logically, it would seem pretty hard to say to someone, 'Your faith cannot lead you to salvation, and it is my responsibility to evangelize you -- so let's work together to feed the homeless,’” he commented.
"It also may be desirable to believe you're willing to work with other faith groups, but when so few pastors have relationships with any non-Christian clergy, it's hard to see much interfaith cooperation developing."
The original study was posted at www.ellisonresearch.com/PastorStudy.htm.