9.5 Theses about Evangelical Christianity
1. Evangelical Christianity is not a movement. There have been evangelical movements; there are movements composed mostly of evangelicals. “Evangelical Christianity” is a spiritual-theological ethos found somewhere in almost every orthodox Christian denomination.
2. Evangelical Christianity at its best is orthodox Christianity with special emphasis on the Bible as the inspired and authoritative Word of God written and on the importance of individual decision decision to repent and trust in Jesus Christ and his cross for one’s salvation.
3. Evangelical Christianity is not dead orthodoxy, fundamentalism, or liberal-progressive Christianity. It is best understood by studying its prototypes such as Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, D. L. Moody, Billy Graham, Carl Henry, Bernard Ramm, John Stott, et al.
4. Evangelical Christianity is mission-oriented and evangelism-focused. The gospel (good news) of salvation through Jesus Christ is the heart of evangelical Christianity and evangelical Christians promote the gospel at all times and around the world to all people.
5. Evangelical Christianity is not tied to any political ideology, party or personality. Evangelical Christianity can be found among people along a wide spectrum of political and economic beliefs.
6. Evangelical Christianity’s doctrinal beliefs are best understood through the National Association of Evangelicals’ Statement of Faith although some evangelicals have added beliefs such as the a “rapture” and “unconditional election” and “annihilationism,” etc.
7. As with every religious type, evangelical Christianity has its scoundrels, imposters, posers, self-appointed spokespersons, etc. Evangelical Christianity is not defined by them.
8. Evangelical Christianity exists in nearly every country in the world and is not uniquely American. It is simply ignorant to identify it with any particular nation or nationality.
9. Evangelical Christianity, at its truest and best, emphasizes love for all being (Jonathan Edwards) and especially for all people (John Wesley).
9.5 Evangelical Christianity believes love is not contradicted by judgment of right and wrong with regard to human behaviors. Evangelicals of all denominations believe (by consensus) that sex outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sin but without hating sinners. “Hate the sin but love the sinner” is no mere cliche but an ethical principle evangelicals embrace.
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