ask an evangelical

Ask an Evangelical: How Do You Define ‘Evangelical’?

Ask an Evangelical: How Do You Define ‘Evangelical’?

What questions do you have about Evangelicalism? Submit them online, or fill out the form below.

Commentary by Scott McIntyre | FāVS News

I’m a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which, as you may know, fully embraces LGBTQ members. We also embrace modern science, including evolution, and tend to be politically liberal. I consider myself Evangelical, meaning one who shares the gospel of Jesus. Do you share this definition?

ask an evangelical

I believe that your definition is part of what I think ‘Evangelical’ is. 

That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many reading this, as the term ‘Evangelical’, like many other words related to Christianity, often has multiple meanings among people who label themselves with the term and even those who don’t. So, what else would I include in my explanation of the word?

I like the “distinctives and theological convictions” listed on the website of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and written by Historian David Bebbington.

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

As a way of summing up the importance of these four principles, NAE wrote, “These distinctives and theological convictions define us…” And I would agree. 

Multiple meanings, as I mentioned earlier, are common among words used in the Christian faith. Since you mentioned the “gospel” and it was also part of the information on NAE’s website, here’s one last thought.

I identified myself as an Evangelical in an article, with a heavy emphasis on the gospel, which was part of our Understanding Prayer Series in 2021. You won’t find unanimous agreement about the definition of the gospel, but I think you’ll see my view of it’s importance if you read the article.

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