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." The LCWE also suggests that nominal Christianity "is to be found wherever the church is more than one generation old."
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'."
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, Conversely about more than two-thirds of Latin American Christians and 90% of African Christians said they attended church regularly.
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". There are, however, "wicked and faithless Christians."
- Christian Witness to Nominal Christians Among Roman Catholics, Lausanne Occasional Paper 10.
- Witness to Nominal Christians Among Protestants, Lausanne Occasional Paper 23.
- Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Operation World: 21st Century Edition (Paternoster, 2001), 13–14.
- Christianity and church attendance
- Douglas Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 2000), 96.
- Douglas Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough, 97.
- 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.