Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore said that he is no longer referring to himself as an “evangelical.” He says that today’s political opportunism and theological heresies have made the term meaningless, though he hopes it might come back.
Back in the Reformation times and still in Europe, “evangelical” referred to Lutherans, for whom the Gospel was central to all of their teachings, a term distinguished from the “reformed.” Later in England, “evangelical” was used to refer to low church Anglicans, and later in America as a term for culturally-open fundamentalists, then for conservative Protestants generally, and then for Christians who emphasize “evangelism.”
It is still a slippery term. Pollsters categorize Lutherans of the Missouri Synod as “evangelicals” because they emphasize the Gospel and the inerrancy of Scripture, while many Lutherans distance themselves from the term because it connotes non-sacramental, non-liturgical Christianity.
Moore approaches the terminology question differently, tying it in to Donald Trump’s candidacy, of all things. What do you think of his analysis? Should the term be retired? Can you think of alternatives?