Word of Grace – What Is an Evangelical?

Word of Grace – What Is an Evangelical?

Dinner had not reached our table at a local restaurant when my friend asked me, “So, are you an evangelical?” My sense was that, like most Americans, he recently heard that evangelicals are a “voting block” being pursued by presidential candidates. The pace of our conversation let me know I had about fifteen seconds to answer his question in a way that might clear up any misperceptions he may have and replace them with the evangel in evangelical.

The word “evangel” means gospel or good news. Evangelists share the good news. Sharing the good news is called evangelism. Evangelicals are people who believe the good news.

Evangelicals believe that the Son of God became a man in Jesus Christ, that he lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death, rose from the dead in a new body, is now reigning as Lord, and will someday return to gather his people to himself. Evangelicals believe that a person must be spiritually born again, that salvation from sin’s condemnation is by grace and that it is entered into by faith. They believe that the kingdom of God has come in Christ and that it will come in its fullness when he returns. They believe that this good news is revealed in the Bible, which is the word of God, and that it is to be communicated to the world so that all people can be called to faith in Christ.

The term “evangelical” is used in our culture in numerous ways, few of which are accurate and helpful. That may be the fault of evangelicals. We do tend to get distracted from the good news of Christ and go off message when communicating to others.

So let’s remember the gospel, keep it front and center, live by its power, and communicate it clearly. If people ask us if we are evangelicals, let’s share the evangel. The good news is that Jesus makes us something far greater than a voting block. He makes us his redeemed people who are living for his glory and awaiting his return.

This Sunday at Grace I won’t be talking about voting blocks but about loving well. We will see from Philippians 1:9-11 how God is working in us to cause our love to abound more and more just as his love abounds to us in Christ.

Read this passage over the weekend. Pray for God’s Spirit to use this passage to increase our love. Pray for one person who needs to know the love of God.

– Scott