What is an Evangelical?

As I was teaching Fundamentals of Faith Class on Sunday night, we were discussing what exactly is “evangelical.” Like the term “Christianity,” the term “evangelical” is used so broadly by various people today that it creates such confusion by the evangelicals and the non-evangelicals alike, hence there is a need today for redefining of its term.

The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word evangelion, which refers to “goodnews” or “gospel.” Historically, the evangelicals were people who stood for the doctrines of the gospel. Hence, they were the people of sound doctrines. I mention regularly to our folks that doctrine is not only what you believe, it is who you are. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (one of my heroes of faith) who utterly opposed ecumenical compromise of our day said that evangelical is “a person who believes truths essential to salvation and has experienced their power in his own rebirth. Here is the great divide. The ecumenical people put fellowship before doctrine. We are evangelicals; we put doctrine before fellowship” [Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth, 2000), 45-46].

A person is truly blind if he/she does not recognize that there is a huge paradigm shift amongst those who profess to be “evangelicals” today. But again, spiritual blindness and lack of biblical discernment are prevalent when sound theology is disappeared.

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2 thoughts on “What is an Evangelical?

  1. Hi Jim,
    It is curious you wrote on this. As I was reading Thomas Nettle’s “By His Grace and For His Glory” he mentioned a similar thing. He said the term ‘evangelical’ “when precisely defined, can be a marvelously useful word. But when left without definition and combined with the amazingly insipid theological term ‘sentiments,’ its tendency to dereliction is absolute.” (p. xxix)
    Thanks again for posting, Jim.

  2. I happened across your website today and noticed you discussed Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Recently, we at Logos Bible Software have acquired a number of Lloyd-Jones’s works, with the intention of developing an electronic version of each. You can see what we offer here: http://www.logos.com/search/Martyn+Lloyd-Jones. The Logos editions will be fully searchable, and all references and footnotes will operate as hotspots, immediately presenting the cited information whenever the cursor rolls over them. All this and more make these esteemed works even more useful for study. And you can help us see these products get the attention they deserve! Contact me for more info: zrock [at] logos [dot] com.

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