Legalism Survey

Christians from a broad spectrum, demographically and denominational, were asked six questions in random order. Results were balanced by gender; participants were only Christians and only regular Churchgoers. There was an unusually high 81% participation rate; normal or typical is about 60%.

  1. “The Christian life is well summed up as ‘trying hard to do what God Commands”

57% Strongly Agreed

25 % Somewhat Agreed


82 % Agreement with the Statement.

Only 16% Disagreed with the statement.

Doing your best to be a good Christian and trying to keep God’s commands. Striving to avoid sin and doing what is right. Living a “good Christian life” does not get you to heaven and does not make you righteous or pleasing to God. This concept is more about what you do (doing) vs. who you are (being).


  1. “I feel like I don’t measure up to God’s expectations of me.”

28% Strongly Agreed

30 % Somewhat Agreed


58% Agreement with the Statement

The difference between the 82% who agreed with #1 and the 58% who agreed with #2 is 24%. This 24% must feel they are doing a good job keeping the rules and obeying God’s Commands. (this is self-righteousness and legalism).

If the Christian life is about doing your best not to sin and please God, then a majority of Christians feel like they are not doing a very good job. Striving hard but not measuring up.


  1. “Rigid rules and strict standards are an important part of the life and teaching of my Church.”

39% Strongly Agreed

27 % Somewhat Agreed


66% Agreement with the Statement

Churches are heavily into teaching Rules and Standards.


  1. “People at my Church are unconditionally loved and accepted regardless of how they look or what they do.”

77% Agreement with the Statement

19% Disagreed with the Statement

Some Good News!


  1. “Attending Church leaves me feeling encouraged and empowered to live the Christian life.”

71% Strongly Agreed

Many Christians are motivated on Sunday to Live the Christian life, but during the week, they feel like they are not measuring up. Many serve God because they feel duty-bound and seek God’s approval. And many are trying to please someone in the Church.


  1. “I am motivated to serve God more out of a sense of Guilt and obligation rather than Joy and Gratitude.”

15% Strongly Agreed

10% Somewhat Agreed


25% Agreed with the Statement

59% Strongly Disagreed

11% Somewhat Disagreed


70% Disagreed with the Statement



Most Christians have a MIXED MESSAGE understanding of Grace and Works.