Evangelical church?

(Mitzi Witt) #1

Hi everyone,

Does the frequently heard term " the evangelical church" mean something as being different than say, the Lutheran or Methodist or Baptist, etc, churches? What does the term signify ? Hear the reference often but not clear what exactly is meant… Any help? Thanks!

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(SeanO) #2

@mitwit I think that really depends on who you ask - books have been written about the modern meaning of the term. Recently the media has associated the term with specific political leanings, though the word itself should just mean someone who proclaims the Gospel of Jesus.

Here is some more food for thought:

In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, the name “evangelical” was adopted and used widely by educated conservative Christians who affirmed the so-called “fundamentals of the faith” – for example, the deity of Christ, the authority of the Bible, and the importance of personal conversion – but who wished to be distinguished from the perceived anti-intellectual, separatist, and belligerent tendencies of the Fundamentalist movement of the 1920s and 30s. Individuals such as Billy Graham, Carl F. H. Henry, and Harold John Ockenga, and various institutions including Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Fuller Theological Seminary, played key roles in this development.

As you’ve correctly observed, today’s news media have given the terms “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” special meanings and definitions of their own. In some circles, a “fundamentalist” is anyone who is perceived to hold “extreme” or “radical” religious views of any description. “Evangelical,” on the other hand, seems to have taken on a primarily political significance: most media outlets use it to refer to “right-wing conservative Christians,” particularly those who are thought to have a carefully defined social and political “agenda.”

Some have said they don’t want to use the label anymore, embarrassed because of its identification with Donald Trump. But that’s backwards. It’s not the label that supported Trump, it’s people—White Evangelicals, primarily. But it’s not politics that unite all Evangelicals; it’s the gospel.

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(Jimmy Sellers) #3

I think that any Christ centered church is evangelical by association with Jesus and his message to go and make disciples but the problem for me is in how we do it. I have seen some church on a dip’em and drop’em path which does nothing for the discipleship part of evangelism. I think a church properly focued on on the Gospel cannot avoid the idea of building a community of believers.
Hope this helps

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(Mitzi Witt) #4

Wow. I guess I was kinda thinking it meant non-denominational as opposed to the denominational church assemblies. Or those who focused more on outreach witnessing. So thanks for that info.

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(SeanO) #5

@mitwit I think I would prefer that was all it meant - unfortunately it has become a bit of a loaded term in Western culture - meaning different things to different people.

(Kathleen Van Every) #6

In today’s world, with the proliferation of social media, massive internet info, and manipulation all around, I find it difficult to have a productive conversation with someone until terms have been defined. Basically, even the word “god” means different things to different people. So this thread on the definition and historical intent of the word “evangelism” is interesting and what I love about RZIM: It boils things down to the basics. I sometimes fall into the trap of talking only about definitions and not arriving at the meat- but I must be content that each interaction is hopefully growth for both me and whomever I am speaking with.

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