What is an Evangelical Christian?
Sometimes we are tempted to throw the baby out with the bath water, and in the case of the title, “Evangelical Christian” you can see why. The term has all but lost its meaning because we stopped defining it biblically and we began to let the culture define what it means.
When you hear the term Evangelical Christian it is usually connected with politics. Politicians campaign to different groups of people. One of those groups is called Evangelical Christians. In that sense, the term has been associated with white, republican, conservative Christians. Often times, it is connected with right-wing bigotry. In this way, the term gets skewed and doesn’t even come close to the original meaning.
To understand what an Evangelical Christian really is, let’s break down our terms.
First of all, a Christian is a follower of Jesus. During the days of the early church, disciples of Jesus “were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26). Christians are believers in and followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian.
Now, let’s define the term evangelical. The word itself comes from the Greek word, evangelion; which means good news or gospel. An evangelical, therefore, is someone who holds to and promotes the good news of Jesus Christ; namely, the salvation we can have through His life, death and resurrection. You can see the root word is evangel which is where we get the word evangelism. Evangelism means to share the gospel with unbelievers.
So, then, an evangelical Christian is simply someone who believes in and follows Christ and is committed to sharing the good news of Jesus with the unbelieving world. That is to say, an Evangelical Christian is a believer who preaches the that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the essence of man’s salvation. That every man, woman and child must put their faith in Jesus in order to be saved.
So, why is this important?
First of all, with this understanding and definition, every Christian should be an evangelical Christian. Stop letting the mainstream media steal our words and define our terms. The word evangelical is a wonderful title and should be worn proudly by all believers.
Secondly, don’t call yourself an Evangelical Christian if you’re not committed to sharing the gospel with unbelievers. The very nature of the word implies that you actively share the evangel (good news of Jesus) with other people. Stop identifying with a political class and start identifying with the church of Jesus Christ.
Finally, understand that there are Evangelical Christians that don’t belong to your political party. Remember, the term has nothing to do with politics. Rather, it defines a believer who shares the gospel. Therefore, your love and allegiance must be to your brothers and sisters in Christ and not a political party.
Thanks for reading!