Nominal Christian

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The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) defines a nominal Christian as "a person who has not responded in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord." The LCWE notes that such a one "may be a practising or non-practising church member. He may give intellectual assent to basic Christian doctrines and claim to be a Christian. He may be faithful in attending liturgical rites and worship services, and be an active member involved in church affairs."[1] The LCWE also suggests that nominal Christianity "is to be found wherever the church is more than one generation old."[2]

Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk suggest that "nominalism" is a major issue. They assert that "many traditionally Christian populations know nothing of a personal faith, true repentance, and a trust in the finished work of Christ for their salvation", and estimate that 1.2 billion people are "nominal and non-practising 'Christians'."[3]

According to data from the European Social Survey in 2012 show that around a third of European Christians say they attend services once a month or more,[4] Conversely about more than two-thirds of Latin American Christians and 90% of African Christians said they attended church regularly.[4]

American Reformed theologian Douglas Wilson disagrees with the category of "nominal Christian" and argues that all who are baptized enter into a covenant with God, and are obliged to serve him; there is, therefore, "no such thing as a merely nominal Christian any more than we can find a man who is a nominal husband".[5] There are, however, "wicked and faithless Christians."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christian Witness to Nominal Christians Among Roman Catholics, Lausanne Occasional Paper 10.
  2. ^ Witness to Nominal Christians Among Protestants, Lausanne Occasional Paper 23.
  3. ^ Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World: 21st Century Edition (Paternoster, 2001), 13–14.
  4. ^ a b Christianity and church attendance
  5. ^ Douglas Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 2000), 96.
  6. ^ Douglas Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough, 97.

Further reading[edit]

  • Eddie Gibbs, In Name Only: Tackling the Problem of Nominal Christianity. Fuller Seminary Press, 2000.
  • Rommen, Edward. "A framework for the analysis of nominal Christianity : a West German case study," in Reflection and projection: Missiology at the threshold of 2001 : festschrift in honor of George W. Peters for his eightieth birthday (Bad Liebenzell : Verlag der Liebenzeller Mission, 1988) p 322-337.