Over at Parchment and Pen, Michael Patton begins a series titled Will The Real Evangelical Please Stand Up?
“To this day the question “What is an Evangelical?” still gives me pause. Not so much because I don’t know how to define it, but because I don’t know who I am defining it to. You see, claiming to be an Evangelical can go a long way in molding someone’s thoughts about you, for good or ill. While most definitions of ”Evangelical” that people assume have a bit of truth to them, they all have one characteristic over another as their primary point of reference. Some assume that “Evangelical” is a simple way to say “Christian fanatic.” There is some truth to that. Others believe that it means “far right-winged Republican” (the old “Republican-party-at-prayer” definition). In some cases, this is true too. I know some who would equate Evangelicalism with Bible worship. I understand where they get this. Others believe it is merely a synonym for “fundamentalist.” In this, Evangelicals are judgmental. Again, a bit of truth has to be conceded. Still, on the other side of the conservative Christian fence, many think of Evangelicals as compromisers and ecumenicists who are one step away from full-blown liberalism. I think we do compromise in some areas (and this may be a good thing). So, check again. Many think that Evangelicals are simply out to convert them to their faith—to “evangelize” them. Rightly understood, this is fair. Finally, to many inside the Evangelical fold, Evangelicalism has become nothing more than the skin of cooperate America over the bones of infant breeding Christian leadership (at best).” (read entire post…, bold added)
Frankly speaking, a label like “Evangelical” has become quite confusing and almost meaningless.
Anyone may stand up!
How about dropping all labels? Okay, I’m being a bit facetious.