Hey Mormons! No Such Thing as an Evangelical Church

Hey Mormons! No Such Thing as an Evangelical Church October 7, 2015

This blog is intended to correct a common misperception about Evangelicalism on the part of many Mormons. It is this: there is no such thing as an “Evangelical Church” yet Mormons frequently operate under the assumption that there is such a church. Let me explain. Generally, when a Mormon thinks of a church they visualize a central organization with a building, an address, a headquarters somewhere in the world, perhaps even a hierarchical structure to look to in order to become appropriately informed about the movement. That, however, is not the case. There are many religious traditions that are evangelical in their approach to and application of Christianity but “evangelical” is a descriptor about particular vantages or practices in branches Christianity, not a branch itself. For example, there are many Baptists that are also evangelicals and there are some that are not. The same is true of Lutherans—some are evangelical and some are not. And so forth. To evangelize simply means to preach the word of God, to witness of His divinity, crucifixion, and resurrection in order to invite all mankind to come to Christ and accept Him as Savior and King. Evangelizing is a deeply seated duty—a Christian obligation to do as Jesus did by witnessing to the world the glory of God and His true path to salvation. And there is no other way to experience salvation save through Christ. Any religion that orients itself around evangelizing, or witnessing for Christ in order to bring others to Him, is evangelical.

Perhaps a metaphor will help. Christianity is like a big tub of vanilla ice cream. It stands on its own as Christianity and needs nothing else to be an acceptable manifestation of the tradition. Evangelizing is not essential for Christianity to exist in the hearts of mankind but to hundreds of millions of Christians evangelizing is essential. And so, evangelical practices among Christians could be likened to caramel that is infused throughout the tub of vanilla ice cream. The caramel does not change the vanilla to something else. Furthermore, the vanilla ice cream is still the dominant component in the tub. However, for many Christians the ripples of caramel (or evangelical praxis) enhances the experience of the dominant and core vanilla flavor (Christianity itself).
With these considerations in mind, it may clear why there is not a need for a “door front” to Evangelicalism as a church proper. Quite the opposite, it runs in and out of a multitude of Christian practices and beliefs. And given Mormon imperatives for missionizing, Mormons are evangelical and the appellation Mormon Evangelical could be appropriate as a descriptor that accurately describes Latter-day Saint proclivities.
BTW: I welcome clarifications, additions or deletions from my Evangelical friends.


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