In recent days, the Church of England has been in the news as they debated and voted on the admission of women as Bishops in their church. There are reports that some ‘Evangelicals’ stopped, or at least voted against the motion. Also recently, the name ‘Evangelical Christians’ has been used with some disgust and disdain, so what brings this about? Why should the word ‘evangelical’ cause so much trouble?
I checked out the definition and found it as follows (not my words): Evangelicalism de-emphasizes ritual and emphasizes the piety of the individual, requiring him or her to meet certain active commitments, including:
The need for personal conversion, or being "born again"
I also found out that evangelicalism has been around in the reformed church since the 1700s, and has not had a bad press until fairly recently, and I wonder why? Has the church in general changed, or does society no longer have any truck with the type of gospel described by the four characteristics shown above? Perhaps the church has not done itself any favours with some prominent senior figures who now disagree with, or have no regard for some or all of these basic foundations?
Let’s take them in turn (my opinion):
We no longer use words like conversion or being ‘born again’, because although a Bible term, it is old fashioned. There is also the link of these words being used by some TV evangelists in the USA mostly, who have behaved in anything but a Christian way, never mind evangelical.
Some so called learned christians pour scorn on many parts of the Bible, like creation and the virgin birth, so its authority is immediately doubted.
Many now believe that we will all get to heaven if we are kind and live a good life, and is a far cry from the belief in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus as the way to heaven.
Telling your story of salvation is not ‘appropriate’ now, and seen as ramming it down other’s throats, and is frowned on to the point that believers are branded as ‘strange’, or even ‘bigots’.
It looks like the word ‘Evangelical’ has been misused and abused by the very people who should know better. Those people we should be able to trust to carry the Gospel forward, have let us down. So, it is not the word, or its origin or meaning, but what it has become known as by non Christian commentators. Maybe the best thing we can do now, is bear the name ‘Evangelical Christian’ as a real ‘Badge of Honour’ and wear it humbly but sincerely.
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor 1:22-24 NKJV