Ask An Evangelical: What Exactly is An Evangelical?

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

By Scott McIntyre

What exactly is a Evangelical? Are they anointed through Christ, the ones that can heal through the gift of God?

When today’s question hit my inbox, I immediately thought it would be helpful to get in touch with a couple of professors at a seminary I attended because of how tough it was going to be to answer.  However, having never attended any theological college, that was not a workable option so I decided to go it alone, leveraging over 30 years of attendance at Evangelical churches, my efforts, since 1989, to train Christians how to share their faith, and a love of my life…Google.

Although what is or isn’t Evangelical doesn’t appear to be universally accepted, the ability to heal through the gift of God wasn’t included as part of its most commonly found description.

Looking at a variety of online resources, such as Wikipedia; an article in The Atlantic;  PBS’ investigative journalism feature, Frontline; and even the National Association of Evangelicals, I can safely (?) say Evangelical Christians, who can be found in nearly every Protestant denomination and tradition, are known by these four qualities…

  1. Confidence that the Bible is God’s revealed word to mankind
  2. Concentration on Jesus’s death on the cross and its redeeming power
  3. Conviction that humans need to be transformed into the Christian life
  4. Certainty that faith should influence one’s public life

While these traits are commonly held across the Evangelical spectrum, the idea that healing, by humans through the power of the Holy Spirit, is a part of some Christian’s makeup, is not.  Generally, the belief can be found in the Pentecostal and charismatic branches of Christianity, which are also considered Evangelical, but as some would argue, of a more liberal makeup.

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