Many Don't Know What an 'Evangelical' Is

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Evangelical Christians are in the headlines a lot this election year.

But today, we learned that most Americans do not know what an "evangelical Christian" is.

Although the mainstream media and politicians regularly refer to evangelicals -- most Americans do not understand the term.

Ellison Research found that 36 percent of Americans say they have no idea what the word means.

Click the play button for comments from Ron Sellers with Ellison Research.

Fifty-six percent were able to give some kind of definition -- but their answers varied greatly.

"We only had 56 percent of all Americans who could even give any kind of a substantive answer as to what an evangelical was," said Ron Sellers with Ellison Research.

"And many of those answers were so far off-base that they were laughable such as 'They worship angels,' 'They worship the Torah.' But 44 percent of all Americans couldn't even hazard any kind of realistic guess as to what it is."

Even among those who define themselves as evangelical -- 14 percent admitted they have no idea what it means.

The most commonly given definition was that of a Christian who shares their faith.

More women than men said they didn't have a definition.

And young people under age 35 were more likely to be confused about the term.

"We are seeing somewhat of a movement away from evangelical as a term that's in common use. People are now talking about confessional Christians or Christ-followers. It's the same thing that happened with the term 'born-again' any number of years ago," Sellers said.

The National Association of Evangelicals defines an evangelical as someone who believes that the Bible is authoritative, has had a born-again experience, and shares this message of faith.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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