During this past election season their was much talk about the “Evangelical” vote. Across the blogosphere, news shows, and newspapers “Evangelical” leaders where quoted and paraded forward to be representatives of the Evangelical Community. The only problem with this is that sometimes the people wouldn’t be Evangelical but Fundamentalist (since the rise of Islamic and Christian extremism no one wants to identify as “Fundamentalist.” Instead, they all call themselves Evangelicals).
Fuller Theological Seminary is identified as an Evangelical Seminary, yet a lot of people I know from there don’t have the same views as those who are routinely being interviewed.
So in order to help define Evangelical, here is a VERY short outline history of Evangelical beliefs from Fuller’s Website.
From the Reformation Evangelicals affirm the following.
- Scripture, not the church, was the final authority for Christian faith and practice
- faith in Christ, not good works, was the means of salvation
- and all believers, not just monks or clergy, were the church’s true priesthood.
From 1846 the Evangelical Alliance put forth 9 Affirmations.
- the inspiration of the Bible;
- the right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures;
- the Trinity;
- human depravity;
- the mediation of the divine Christ;
- justification by faith;
- conversion and sanctification by the Holy Spirit;
- the return of Christ and judgment;
- the ministry of the Word.
From 1910, 5 fundamentals distinguished Evangelicalism from Liberalism.
- the miracles of Christ;
- the virgin birth of Christ;
- the satisfaction view of the atonement;
- the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures; and
- the bodily resurrection of Christ.
Following the Evangelical pattern Fuller has 10 key affirmations.
- the existence, perfection and triune nature of God;
- the revelation of God in creation, history and in Jesus Christ;
- the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures;
- God’s creation of the world and humankind, with humanity’s rebellion and subsequent depravity;
- the person and work of Jesus Christ, including his deity, virgin birth, true humanity, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and ascension to heaven;
- the Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration and justification;
- growth in the knowledge of God and Christian obedience;
- the church as the creation of the Holy Spirit;
- the worship, mission and service of the church;
- the return of Christ to raise the dead and to judge the world.
These final 10 affirmations are a good indication of what makes someone an Evangelical today.
To read the whole article from Fuller’s Website check out the section titled Pivotal Affirmations.
Leave a comment and let me know how many of these 10 affirmations you agree with and which one’s you have trouble with.