Monday, August 04, 2008


According to The Barna Group, “evangelicals” are those who “meet the born again criteria plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.”

I was raised by “evangelicals” but, it would have never occurred to them to use the word “evangelical” to describe themselves. If you had asked Pa Bill or Grandma to identify their religion, they would have told you they were “Christians”. Not “evangelicals”, not “Fundamentalist”, not “conservatives” or “liberals”—just “Christians”. If you asked what they meant by “Christian”, they would have probably said they had been “born again” or “converted”. The old folks who knew the Lord loved to tell you that they had been “born again”, “saved” or “converted”.

We have so many labels today. I don’t complain about that, because today it’s not good enough to just say “Christian”. All sorts of people, who would not be recognized as Christians by most Christian denominations 100 years ago, call themselves “Christian” today. So, unfortunately, labels are needed. You have to be very specific about what you mean.

Yet, it’s ironic that I rarely, if ever, hear evangelicals describe themselves anymore as “born again”, “saved” or “converted”. Have we become too sophisticated for biblical labels?

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