Christianity Today’s ministerial survey (made by Opinion Research Corporation at a cost of $20,000) indicated that 74 per cent of the Protestant clergy in the United States regard themselves as either fundamental or conservative in theology (with slightly more than half preferring to be called “conservative” rather than “fundamentalist”). Of the remainder, 14 per cent describe their theology as “liberal” and 12 per cent as “neo-orthodox.” This essentially conservative bent of the Protestant clergy is seldom reflected in theological surveys of our time, which center their interest in the changing tides of liberal and neo-orthodox theologians.

While 93 per cent of all ministers interviewed hold that the Bible is the authoritative rule of life and faith, and classify this as an essential doctrine, 33 per cent (26 per cent being liberal or neo-orthodox) dismiss as unessential the view that the Bible was verbally inspired in the original writings.

In respect to other doctrines, 18 per cent reject the virgin birth of Christ; 17 per cent, the vicarious, substitutionary atonement; and 11 per cent, Christ’s historical, literal resurrection (neo-orthodox ministers being less prone than liberal ministers to question the importance of this doctrine).

Some 89 per cent of the Protestant ministers interviewed think it essential to teach and preach the unique deity of Christ as the Son of God; the others do not.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s survey thus attests the fact that the dilemma of modern Protestantism in America stems largely from a lack of doctrinal stability and conviction due to a departure from the Bible.

Interest in Church Union

Despite the contrary impression given by the ecumenical dialogue and some theological literature and ecclesiastical ...

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