Sorting Christians and others into categories:
The faith segments used by the Barna Research Group
The Barna Research Group is one of the five divisions within the
Barna Group, Ltd. That division provides primary research, largely through
telephone polls of random selections of American adults. They are arguably the
most important polling agency in the field of religion and spirituality in the
country. 1 They were founded
in 1984. They offer a free weekly update of their latest research findings. You
can subscribe to the report from their web site. 2
Barna Research has developed a unique set of criteria for sorting individuals
into five faith segments. Because of their importance in the religious polling
field, their definitions often used by others.
There is little standardization on the meanings of terms in the religious
area. For example, in early 2006, Barna reported that only 9% of American adults
met their definition of "Evangelical." Other organizations and individuals may
well use a much broader definition of this term, and estimate a very different
percentage of Evangelicals.
Barna's five segments:
Non-Evangelical Born again Christians: These are individuals who:
Say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
That commitment is still important to them now.
They have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their
They believe that, because of their confession and acceptance, they
will spend eternity in Heaven.
However, they don't meet one of the Evangelical criteria listed
Evangelicals are individuals who meet the born again criteria
and seven additional beliefs as well:
We were stymied by the word "notional." We had to look up its meaning.
Die.net, a online dictionary, gave many definitions including: "Having
descriptive value as distinguished from syntactic category," "not based on
fact," "dubious," "being or of the nature of a notion or concept." etc.