When it comes to trusting God, Protestant churchgoers exercise a great deal of faith in their daily lives — whether in difficult circumstances or when the unexplainable happens, a new study released Tuesday (July 16) shows.
The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from LifeWay Research found 7 in 10 (72 percent) Protestant churchgoers disagree with the statement: “During difficult circumstances, I sometimes doubt that God loves me and will provide for my life,” with 50 percent strongly disagreeing.
Only 5 percent of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree they doubt God’s faithfulness in difficult circumstances, while 13 percent somewhat agree and 10 percent neither agree nor disagree.
The study, which was conducted Jan. 14–29, identifies exercising faith as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing Christians.
Hispanics and African Americans are the two ethnic groups most likely to exercise faith in times of difficulty, with 55 percent of both groups strongly disagreeing with the statement: “During difficult circumstances, I sometimes doubt that God loves me and will provide for my life.”
Black Protestants (56 percent) and evangelical Protestants (51 percent) are more likely to strongly disagree than mainline Protestants (42 percent).
“The Bible says believers should expect various trials,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “The question is how does a Christian actually respond. Half of churchgoers indicate that doubts about God sometimes arise for them during tough times.”
In addition to trusting God in difficult times, giving freely of one’s money and possessions is an indication of exercising faith in God.
Slightly more than a third of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree (36 percent) they make everything they own available to God, while a third somewhat agrees.
Around 1 in 5 neither agrees nor disagrees, while 10 percent disagree they make their possessions available to God.
Researchers found significant statistical differences when it comes to gender, ethnicity, religious tradition and education. Females (39 percent) are more likely than males (32 percent) to strongly agree.
Hispanic (50 percent) and African American (46 percent) Protestant churchgoers are more likely to say they make everything they own available to God compared to 31 percent of both whites and other ethnicities.
Black Protestants (47 percent) and evangelical Protestants (38 percent) are more likely to strongly agree than mainline Protestants (22 percent). And those with a high school diploma or less (45 percent) are more likely to strongly agree their possessions are available for God to use than those with more education.
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Source: Baptist Press