Are you an evangelical?

Yesterday the Evangelical Manifesto was officially presented in Washington, D.C., with the Evangelical Manifesto steering committee and charter signatures being made up of Dallas Willard, Os Guinness, Leith Anderson, Kay Arthur, Max De Pree, Jack Hayford, John Ortburg, Mark Noll, and many, many others.

You can download the manifesto HERE and study guide, HERE.

A few questions to consider:

  • Are you an evangelical?
  • What difference is there in saying your are a Christian vs. an evangelical?
  • What is more important in our society right now…to redeem the name “evangelical” or the name “Christian?”
  • If you were to redeem the name “evangelical” how would you do it? (and is it worth saving?)
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~ by Dave Smith on May 8, 2008.

4 Responses to “Are you an evangelical?”

  1. I read the summary.

    I think the name “Christian” or “Evangelical” carries a negative connotation locally, and perhaps globally (I’m not a world traveler).

    I think this is largely our own fault, due to misplaced priorities, agendas in the political realm, and stupidity.

    When Jerry Falwall passed away, someone wrote an email to the Jim Rome show. It read, “See you in hell Jerry! – signed the Purple Teletubby.” Rome got a lot of milage out Jerry’s public pronouncements.

    I understand sports radio by nature is likes to push the envolope, but I think the point is that many Evangelical’s consider a guy like Falwell to be “hero of the faith”, and he was held up as a buffoon by a pop culture icon.

    On the one hand, we should expect this kind of treatment. Scripture says that we should expect this kind of treatment from the world.

    On the other, a 100 years from now will Falwell be revered for his statements on homosexuals like Wilberforce was with slaves?

    For some reason, Evangelicals routinely forget we are strangers in a foreign land. The are in love with an idyllic “Christain America” that I’m not sure every really existed.

    I agree with the manifesto that our faith has to transcend economics, political parties, race, and nationality.

  2. That’s some good stuff there. I whole-heartedly affirm what I have read there, and if that is the direction Evangelicalism actually moves, then count me in.

    On a personal note, it was nice to see a statement that didn’t obsess over Scriptural inerrancy but still affirmed the authoritative and normative importance for Scripture in Evangelical faith.

    Also, I think Anthony made some good observations, to which I would only add one further comment. Jesus did tell his disciples that the world would persecute them, but the operative part of that statement was that they would be persecuted for following Jesus. In other words, they would be persecuted for engaging in a specific lifestyle which includes specific behaviors. I wonder, have evangelicals been persecuted for following Jesus? And if not, whose agenda were they following?

    It’s worthwhile to remember that Jesus wasn’t known for hating “sinners” as Evangelicals are known for today. Instead, he was hated because he was too close to “sinners.” One might make the case that Jesus was even confused for being a sinner himself. Have Evangelicals taken that part of Jesus’ ministry seriously enough in our preaching and lifestyle? I tend to think the answer is no.

    One last point. I personally think current studies such as “unChristian” reveal some fatal flaws in Christianity, and it should most definitely give us pause and force us to reconsider. However, the temptation that threatens us is to become overly concerned with perception. Our primary call is not to justify the term “Christian” or “evangelical” in the public sphere. That does not mean such a task is unimportant, simply that it is not primary. In other words, vindication in the eyes of society can become an idol if it is the first concern on our minds. Yes, we should use these perceptions as tools to help us reevaluate our churches, but if perception is our primary concern, then we will simply be substituting one mistake for another.

  3. Good point Ben. Are we being persecuted for the wrong stuff?

    Also, some good cautions with perceptions…it can’t be the primary reason for our actions…but at the same time we know outside perceptions are important at some level…as we are reminded in Paul’s qualifications of an elder stating, “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders,” (1 Timothy 3:7)

  4. hey dave,

    im learning, that i almost have to de-program myself from how the church taught me to evangelize. i need to erase the idea of simply trying to sell them to “pray the prayer” and then move on to my next “victim.” and, also, i need to rid myself of the idea that “witnessing” is one simple sales pitch…instead it is a long process of how i am living.

    we took non-churched friends w/ us to the 1964 concert the other night. it was good. yet, if i had to honestly critique the speaker, i would have him eliminate these christianese terms: “witness”, “testimony”, and asking us to shout “amen”. this was somewhat awkward as i know our friends did not really get any of those terms.

    i am learning that i liked the short-cut of wanting non-christian friends to just “get it” in one conversation. instead, it’s a long process (which i am not very good at).

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