The June edition of Christianity Today had a small report called “Daily Devotion” which asked the question, What’s essential to being a Christian? It was actually a report on a Pew Forum research project on how American Christians of all denominations apply their faith in daily life. The results are interesting and perhaps a little sobering as well.
Respondents answered, varying widely on church attendance and Bible reading, but held similar views on prioritizing family, being grateful, and exercising.
Highly religious evangelicals are also more likely to say honesty, forgiveness, controlling one’s temper, dressing modestly, and physical health are essential to Christianity. Evangelicals were least likely to agree that working to help the poor, protecting the environment, and buying from companies that pay a fair wage are essential to being a Christian.
In some respects, virtues such as gratitude and forgiveness are important aspects of what it means to be Christian. So is faith in God. Conspicuously absent are ideas such as obedience to Christ, keeping God’s commandments, worship and witness in the community of faith, and so on. What do you say is essential to Christianity?
Further detail from the Pew study can be found here.