Pew news 07th April

I am an ‘Evangelical’ Christian.  I want to explain what that means.    

The word comes from the Greek word meaning “Message of Good News”.  So an evangelist is someone who shares good news. An evangelistic event or meeting is a meeting where good news is shared.  An Evangelical Christian is one who aims above all else to believe, obey and share the gospel message as the Bible teaches it.   

You might say, “Can’t I just be ‘a Christian?  Why another label?”  It’s because there are questions that can’t be avoided.  How does God exercise his authority?  How did Jesus’s death and resurrection deal with our sin? ‘Catholic’ Christians set high store on answers coming from church tradition.  ‘Liberal’ Christians treasure insights from today’s culture.  What about evangelicals?

John Stott, the well-known evangelical writer, summed up the evangelical view helpfully: we are defined by two great ONCE AND FOR ALLS.

First, we believe that God has entrusted his word, the Bible, to his people once and for all (Jude 3).  An evangelical ought to value the traditions of the church and listen to contemporary culture, but neither has the same authority as the Bible which alone has authority to interpret itself.  The one true Jesus, the true meaning of his death and resurrection is the one the Bible presents.   This explains why evangelicals emphasise Biblical preaching.                            

Second, we believe that when Jesus died on the cross, he died in our place once and for all (Heb 7:27).  We reject the ‘catholic’ tradition that the sacrifice must be repeated in Holy Communion.  We resist the ‘liberal’ instinct to downplay the idea of God’s judgement and Jesus’ sacrificial blood.  An evangelical longs for the world to know God’s love which flows uniquely through Jesus’ one sacrifice of himself, and aims to call every person to be saved through faith alone and to new life in the Spirit.   

The Bible, revealed once and for all.  The cross, a once and for all sacrifice.  This is the defining heart of evangelical worship and life.  (see over 2nd column)