Ask An Evangelical: Evangelical Views of the Christian Faith

What do you want to know about Evangelicalism? Submit your question here.

By Elizabeth Backstrom and Cassy Benefield

In a recent column, Cassy Benefield wrote thatBiblehub.com “provides commentary from sources favorable to the Evangelical views of the Christian faith.” What does that mean? What is meant by Evangelical views of the Christian faith?

Elizabeth Backstrom

Defining Evangelicalism

This answer to this can be pretty different depending on who you are talking to. The list of Christian denominations is huge and pretty confusing, because some of them have ‘evangelical’ in their name, but may or may not be considered evangelical by the others, or by folks outside the church, depending on what types of things they believe. 

In general, I like to take a somewhat loose view of doctrine like this, because my view is that we can spend as much or as little time as we’d like in life arguing about the finer points of a particular creed. That’s not how I want to spend the majority of the time I have here on earth. That being said, it’s very important to some to clearly define themselves, and I understand that. I think the balance is understanding and appreciating categories and labels (and the meaning, history and context behind them) without allowing them to make our lives and choices overly narrow. 

When people ask me what Evangelicals believe, I usually point them toward the National Association of Evangelicals, founded by Harold Ockenga in 1942. Ockenga was what many would have called a fundamentalist, but that label meant something different than it means today, and should be understood in its historical context – but that’s another column. 

The major tenants of Evangelical belief, according to the NAE, are as follows: 

  • Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus
  • Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts
  • Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority
  • Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity
Cassy Benefield

Evangelical Resources and Commentaries

Thank you so much for sending in your question. I think Elizabeth Backstrom answered the question of what an Evangelical means very well. As the writer of the commentary the question came from, I can explain to you why I prefaced my use of Biblehub.com with it being an Evangelical-friendly source.

What I meant by that is the website itself has a strong Evangelical statement of faith (https://biblehub.com/faithstatement.htm) that includes the belief that the Bible is the authoritative, infallible word of God, the belief in the triune nature of God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that “for the salvation of lost and sinful man, belief in Jesus as Savior and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are absolutely essential.” 

Now, I may have worded the salvation statement differently to be simply “by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ” with the idea that regeneration (or newness of life) of the Holy Spirit comes after that faith is placed. I believe they have worded it this way to accommodate different faith families within the Evangelical umbrella that believe differently about when regeneration actually takes place. Suffice it to say, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is a centerpiece of any Evangelical’s faith.

Back to your question, though, for Evangelicals, like myself, when I am reading resources or commentaries, I like to know from whence they are coming from, so I can factor in any particular bias. There are 29 listed commentaries offered in Biblehub.com’s drop down menu, many of which I personally recognize as sources that hold a high view of Scripture. 

Explaining that to my Evangelical readership was important in this piece so that they understood that even scholars with a more conservative or high view of the infallibility of Scripture understood Exodus 21:22 to mean if the child was miscarried and died, only a fine was to be given the offender.

Granted, I had only used two commentary texts to prove my point. You can read all 11 commentaries Biblehub.com has listed with this verse here:https://biblehub.com/commentaries/exodus/21-22.htm.

I hope that helps answer your question, but if not, or you need further explanation, please let us know.

About Elizabeth Backstrom

Elizabeth Backstrom majored in journalism at Western Washington University and currently works as a content analyst and grant writer in Spokane. Her background is in newswriting and features, but if an overabundance of caffeine is consumed, she has been known to write a humor piece or two. Backstrom attended various Christian churches growing up in Spokane and currently attends First Covenant Church, an inner-city ministry in downtown Spokane.

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About Cassy Benefield

Cassandra Benefield mostly goes by Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y'). She is a wife and mommy, who married at the age of 37 and had her baby girl just shy of 39. She has moved around all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer to Romania where she taught Conversational English, Modern Literature, Creative Writing, U.S. Culture, U.S. Geography, and U.S. History (the last two subjects she was so not qualified to teach!). She is a Journalism major from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a Bible nerd who is prone to buy more theology books than she is ever able to read. Morro Bay, California, is her favorite place on earth ... with the exception of being in the center of God's will. From time to time, you will find her writing devotions on her blog underhisshadow.blogspot.com.

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