Evangelical Identity

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I wonder if description below would be true of evangelical Christians as they are known today. If not, I wonder if this should be the description and if it’s a place worth trying to get to.

Conclusion: Evangelical Identity

Evangelicals believe, first of all, the gospel as it is set forth in the Bible. The word evangelical is derived from the biblical term euangelion meaning “good news.” It is the Good News that God became man in Jesus Christ to live and die and rise again from the dead in order to save us from our sin and all its consequences. The Savior’s benefits and his salvation are bestowed upon us freely and graciously and are received through personal faith in Christ. They are not conditioned on our merit or personal goodness but are based wholly on the mercy of God.

Evangelicals are also to be identified by what is sometimes called the material or content principle of evangelicalism. They hold to all of the most basic doctrines of the Bible: for example, the triuneness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; the pre-existence, incarnation, full deity and humanity of Christ united in one person; his sinless life, his authoritative teaching; his substitutionary atonement; his bodily resurrection from the dead, his second coming to judge the living and the dead; the necessity of holy living; the imperative of witnessing to others about the gospel; the necessity of a life of service to God and human kind; and the hope in a life to come. These doctrines emerge from the Bible and are summarized in the Apostles’ Creed and the historic confessions of evangelical churches.

Evangelicals have a third distinguishing mark. In accordance with the teaching of their Lord they believe the Bible to be the final and authoritative source of all doctrine. This is often called the formative or forming principle of evangelicalism. Evangelicals hold the Bible to be God’s Word and, therefore, completely true and trustworthy (and this is what we mean by the words infallible and inerrant). It is the authority by which they seek to guide their thoughts and their lives.

These then are the three distinguishing marks of all evangelicals. Without constant fidelity to all three marks, evangelicals will be unable to meet the demands of the future and interact effectively with the internal and external challenges noted in these affirmations.

Evangelical churches also hold various distinctive doctrines that are important to them; but nonetheless, they share this common evangelical faith.
– Kenneth S. Kantzer and Carl F. H. Henry, Evangelical Affirmations (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1990), 37-38.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jasmine November 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I am pleased to have read this post by you. The way you had called the Evangelical followers as “they” and not “we”, I am guessing you may not be Evangelistic. I like that you are speaking freely of one religion, even though it may not be yours. This is where peace starts; in not critisizing or judging others. Thanks for the kindly informative words you have posted here!

2 Mark November 17, 2010 at 12:02 am

Jasmine,

I hate to disappoint you, but depending on the definition I would consider myself an evangelical. Also, an evangelical is not a religion, but a description of a type of Christian within Christianity.

.

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