On February 27, I posted:

For several years, I have been curious about the theological and denominational makeup of Southern Gospel. I’ve even discussed specific aspects in previous posts. But I have never done anything quite like this. Here is a nine-question poll intended to shed light on the doctrinal and denominational makeup of our genre: [EDIT: This survey is now closed. Thank you for participating! The results are here.]

Responses are anonymous; no personally identifiable information (e.g. IP address / email address) is collected with the survey.

We will keep this poll open for about 48 hours, publishing the results Wednesday morning.

Thank you to the 188 people who took the time to answer this survey. Here are a few highlights and interesting points:

  • To nobody’s surprise, Baptists are overwhelmingly the strongest denomination; different types of Baptists made up 44%. Different types of Pentecostals just passed the 10% mark, making it the next most strongly represented.
  • Southern Gospel fans overwhelmingly believe in the Trinity and that the Bible is divinely inspired and infallible. (8% believe that the Bible may contain errors, though!)
  • The responses to #4 were a pleasant surprise. 86.6% of Southern Gospel fans believe that God created the world in six days. This was a far broader margin than I expected for this controversial of a topic.
  • The responses to #5 were also quite a surprise. Yes, there are more Arminians than Calvinists in Southern Gospel, but only by a 4% margin (72-64 in the results, or 39.78% to 35.36%.) Calvinists actually form the majority among the most active readers, though, since the first day’s results had Calvinists in the lead!
  • Overwhelmingly, Southern Gospel fans believe churches should be overseen by their local congregations.
  • 77% of Southern Gospel fans attend churches with 500 or fewer attendees.
  • Unsurprisingly, cessationists led on question #8, but by less of a margin than one might have guessed, given the predominance of Baptists in the survey. It was a 42% to 32% margin, but bringing in the 8% of Pentecostals who take the continuationist position further, one could break it down as a 42% to 40% margin.
  • To nobody’s surprise, the pre-trib Rapture position was overwhelmingly the strongest, pulling in 60% of the vote. The remainder of the answers were fairly diverse; no other position picked up 7%.

Detailed Results

1. What denomination of church do you attend? (188 answers; 0 skipped)

  • Anabaptist 2.13% (4)
  • Anglican or Episcopalian 1.60% (3)
  • Baptist – Southern Baptist 21.81% (41)
  • Baptist – Independent Fundamental 11.70% (22)
  • Baptist – Reformed 2.66% (5)
  • Baptist – Other 8.51% (16)
  • Catholic 1.06% (2)
  • Charismatic 0.53% (1)
  • Church of God 2.66% (5)
  • Eastern Orthodox 0.00% (0)
  • Lutheran 1.60% (3)
  • Methodist 2.66% (5)
  • Nazarene 1.60% (3)
  • Non-denominational 13.83% (26)
  • Pentecostal – Assemblies of God 4.26% (8)
  • Pentecostal – Other 6.38% (12)
  • Presbyterian 4.26% (8)
  • Wesleyan 2.13% (4)
  • Other 10.64% (20)

2. What is your view of God? (187 answers; 1 skipped)

  • I believe in the Trinity 94.12% (176)
  • I believe in another view of God 5.88% (11)

3. What is your view of Scripture? (186 answers; 2 skipped)

  • I believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and infallible 89.78% (167)
  • I believe that Scripture may contain or does contain errors 8.06% (15)
  • I don’t know 2.15% (4)

4. What is your view on the earth’s origins? (186 answers; 2 skipped)

  • I believe that God created the world in six days 86.56% (161)
  • I believe that God created the world over thousands or millions of years, using evolution 10.75% (20)
  • I believe that the earth evolved without God’s supernatural intervention 0.00% (0)
  • I don’t know 2.69% (5)

5. What is your view of salvation? (181 answers; 7 skipped)

  • I hold to or lean towards a Calvinist understanding of salvation 35.36% (64)
  • I hold to or lean towards an Arminian understanding of salvation 39.78% (72)
  • I am not familiar with the difference between the views 23.76% (43)
  • I don’t know 1.10% (2)

6. What is your view of church order? (183 answers; 5 skipped)

  • I believe churches should be overseen by bishops or other church hierarchy 11.48% (21)
  • I believe churches should be overseen by elders or presbyters 27.32% (50)
  • I believe churches should be overseen by their local congregations 61.20% (112)

7. How large is your church? (Okay, this isn’t specifically doctrinal, but it is interesting!) (184 answers; 4 skipped)

  • My church has 100 or fewer weekly attendees 27.17% (50)
  • My church has 101-250 weekly attendees 32.07% (59)
  • My church has 251-500 weekly attendees 17.93% (33)
  • My church has 501-1000 weekly attendees 10.33% (19)
  • My church has 1001-2000 weekly attendees 6.52% (12)
  • My church has over 2000 weekly attendees 5.98% (11)

8. What is your view of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? (181 answers; 7 skipped)

  •  I am a continuationist [or] Charismatic: I believe that all gifts of the Holy Spirit (including unknown tongues, miraculous healings, and prophecy) are operative today 32.04% (58)
  • I am a Pentecostal: I agree with continuationists and charismatics that all gifts of the Holy Spirit are operative today, and I also believe that Christians have not received (or have not been baptized in) the Holy Spirit until they have spoken in tongues 7.73% (14)
  • I am a cessationist: I believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased 41.99% (76)
  • I don’t know 18.23% (33)

9. What is your view of the end times? (187 answers; 1 skipped)

  • I believe in a pre-tribulation (pre-millenial) Rapture 59.89% (112)
  • I believe in a mid-tribulation (pre-millenial) Rapture 3.74% (7)
  • I believe in a post-tribulation (pre-millenial) Rapture 1.60% (3)
  • I believe that the Second Coming occurs after the events of the millenial reign (post-millenial) 3.21% (6)
  • I believe that the millenial reign is figurative (amillenial) 6.42% (12)
  • I am a partial Preterist: I believe that many of the events in Revelation were fulfilled in A.D. 70 3.21% (6)
  • I am a full Preterist: I believe that all of the events in Revelation were fulfilled in A.D. 70 0.00% (0)
  • I believe that Revelation should be interpreted in an allegorical way, not as literal prophecy (idealist) 6.95% (13)
  • I hold another view 6.95% (13)
  • I don’t know 8.02% (15)