Definitions: "Evangelical"

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

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    There is much confusion over this term (and cognate "New-Evangelical" or "Neo-Evangelical").

    Keep the "Evangelical Free" Church out of this discussion, as that is just a title and should not be confused with defintion.

    Please share:
    Definitions and practical applications (like what doctrines/people fit in what category).
     
  2. Craigbythesea

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    “Evangelical” is “conservative” spelled with four letters. [​IMG]
     
  3. Matt Black

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    A good definition IMO is here:-

    www.eauk.org

    IMO an evangelical has the following characteristics:-

    1.A high view of Scripture, often but not always amounting to inerrancy, but certainly regarding it as Divinely inspired and the highest authority in matters of doctrine and practice, prima scriptura if not sola sciptura.

    2. Some kind of view of the Cross which incorporates penal substitutionary atonement, sometimes mixed with other motifs such as Christus Victor, but with PSA central, leading to a soteriology which insists on Jesus being the only way to the Father

    3. A soteriology which insists on justification by faith alone, whether that be solely by grace (Calvinism) or whether some kind of act of repentance is needed (Arminianism) but decisively rejecting works-based salvation.

    4. A rejection of sacramental soteriology usually resulting in a rejection of the concept of an ordained priesthood and embracing the priesthood of the believer but not always eg: there are evangelical episcopalians.

    5. Er... brain fried this AM and I'm sure there's more, but that'll do for the moment!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  4. Matt Black

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  5. Dr. Bob

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    From Matt's link -
    This would be almost IDENTICAL to most people's view today of "Fundamentalism".

    What distinguishes an "evangelical" from a "fundamentalist", since both believe the same basic doctrine?
     
  6. Matt Black

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    Note the parseeing of phraseology wrt the Bible - "entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct";this allows room for a non-inerrant view of Scripture. Here, at least, I think it's fair comment to say that 'evangelical' is wider than 'fundamentalist'. Another example - evangelical over here includes charismatics...

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  7. AVL1984

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    LOL! Touchy, touchy! ;)
    Sorry Dr. Bob, I just couldn't resist!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    Hey, I do church plant work and help a number of groups. Right now I am working with American Missionary Fellowship. In 2002-03 I worked 16 months with the Evangelical Free right here in Casper.

    Of course, I work as a missionary out of my home church (ifb) with their blessing.

    Found that lots of folks get "evangelical" confused with "evangelical free". Wasn't trying to poke anything with the distinction! [​IMG]
     
  9. GeneMBridges

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    This would be almost IDENTICAL to most people's view today of "Fundamentalism".

    What distinguishes an "evangelical" from a "fundamentalist", since both believe the same basic doctrine?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Historically, in the United States, that distinction has been assoicated with their approach to social issues. The NeoEvangelilcal movement itself arose as a response to neo-orthodoxy theologically, and, while, it rejected the liberal epistemology of the neo-orthodox movement, it did embrace its approach to social issues. Unlike the fundamentalists of the mid20th century, who largely emphasized a withdrawal from society, up to and including social reform, evangelicals accepted the role of the people of God as agents of social change in their local communities and in government itself. Fundamentalists of that era also had a generalized scorn of "higher education," because of its association with liberalism

    In the modern era, those distinctions have blurred from the general to more "situational.' Her are some examples:

    Fundamentalists of today embrace Christian higher education, however, they are still prone to label any study of nonevangelical/fundamental theology as some sort of "inroad" or even "sellout" to liberalism. They seem to fear that exposure to other theologies (process, neoorthodox, feminist, et.al.) will somehow influence the minds of persons studying them in a negative manner. Personally, I find that rather odd. Evangelicals, on the other hand, are more likely, in such a situation, to say that the truth is true and that the person who approaches such a study prayerfully and with a solid ground, if influenced in any manner, will see that there is something we can learn from these other, albeit, misguided, theologies. For example, while classical liberalism in all its forms is largely atheistic, liberal churches can teach more conservative ones a thing or two about doing outreach via the soup kitchen.

    Also, while mid20th century evangelicalism embraced the role of Christians as being actively involved in government, while fundamentalism rejected that notion, modern fundamentalists have joined evangelicals and liberals in government. However, a fundamentalist is much more likely, in the US to associated himself or herself with certain political viewpoints and criticize those that disagree with him or her as "unChristian" or a Christian who is disobedient if they do not hold to those particular viewpoints. Effectively, fundamentalists have been known to walk the line with regard to personal politics and almost use personal politics as a test of fellowship, particularly in those denominations which historically do tie church and state together, and even in those that do not do so historically. Evangelicals tend to hold to a wider tent view with regard to personal politics than modern fundamentalists.

    With regard to personal behavior, fundamentalists are likely to see the world as inherently evil in all or most of its manifestations and still, at a minimum, approach indulging in what the world has to offer reticently, whether that be in matters of art, history, or science. Evangelicals see the world as a place that is fallen, however, it is still the world that God created and, therefore, there is good to be found in it. The task is, therefore, to find the good and sift out the dross.

    It is these kinds of distinctions that separate evangelicals and fundmentalists. It is in matters of orthodpraxy, by and large, where these distinctions lie, whereas our orthodoxy is largely alike.

    Postus Scriptus:

    Good to be back...been on hiatus awhile. Hello all.

    God Bless,

    Gene
     
  10. Daniel David

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    Non catholic.
     
  11. Matt Black

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    Well said Gene.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  12. BornBaptist

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    Dr. Bob,

    just a quick question... and others might comment as well...


    Were not the Evangelical Baptist's the kind that Believed Christ Died for all? and the Fundemental Baptist's believe in a Limited Atonement?

    Or am I wrong?

    :confused:

    BornBaptist
     
  13. rsr

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    No. You will find both views of atonement in both "camps."
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Both evangelicals and fundamentalists have some that hold to the erroneous doctrine of a universal atonement.

    Of course, none of them really MEAN 'universal' as in everything. They ALL limit the atonement in some ways.

    Haven't met anyone who believes Christ died for the sin of Satan or fallen angels et al.

    But that is for another debate and not this one!! [​IMG]
     
  15. Matt Black

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    Some differences between US and UK evangelicals:-

    1. Nearly all US evangelicals seem to belong to independent denominations whereas in the UK they exist in mainstream denominations as well

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  16. Matt Black

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    2. American evangelicals seem to see their social interest/ action limited to issues like abortion and homosexuality whereas in the UK we tend to take a more holistic approach embracing poverty and environmental issues

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  17. Matt Black

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    3. Most American evangelicals seem very right-wing economically,whereas most British evos would be more left-leaning 'share the wealth' types (although right wing on moral issues). US evangelicals also seem shocked when I express views contra a certain Mr Bush; there is often also a weird "If you're against America, you're against God" mentality in American evangelicalism that I think personally is more like civil religion than the Christianity of the Cross.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  18. Matt Black

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    4. Strengths and weaknesses, but American evangelicals seem to be much more 'in your face' about evangelism, whereas British evangelicalism tends to do more relationally-based evangelism eg: Alpha

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  19. GeneMBridges

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    Yes and no. While that is largely true, it's important to note that the intent of the neo evangelical approach the Christian higher education was largely to gain a foothold within the mainline denominations in the US. Asbury Seminary, for example, was once a classically liberal institution, but it was "reclaimed" by evangelicals. Likewise Southeastern Baptist Seminary was the same way within the SBC in the US, but it was reclaimed by evangelicals and fundamentalists alike. This was part of the intent when seminaries like Gordon-Conwell were first organized to serve multiple denominations, but to train evangelical clergy.(Remember, I'm using the definitions I described earlier for US evangelicals and fundamentalists). For this reason, the mainline denominations are schisming within US clergy. That's a big reason there is controversy in the United Methodist Church as well as mainline denominations like the Presbyterians here. Some have splintered into their own groups, like the Presbyterian Chuch in America (PCA) (At least I think that's the right one for evangelicals) vs. the Presbyterian Church USA, which is largely liberal/neo-orthodox although it has evangelicals within it.
     

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