Refusing to surrender “evangelical”

Derek Ouellette —  November 25, 2012

I want to share a quote by Craig Adams mostly because, well, ‘my sentiments exactly.’ He’s a little more progressive than I in some ways (read: strong egalitarian), and I more than him in others (read: open theist). But I feel like we’ve journeyed down similar paths. His quote was found in a broader context of another article, and if you’re interested in that context, click here. Otherwise, here’s the quote:

“I am one of those people who is not willing to surrender the concept of “evangelical” to the political right wing, or to the inerrantists, or to the neo-Calvinists. I have a deep, abiding suspicion of the “liberal” (progressive?) Christian tradition — as something that never conveyed the Gospel of Christ to me, and is currently failing to do so (generally speaking) to the new generations that arise. To be evangelical is to love the Gospel and to desire to spread the message. It is to love the Bible and it’s teaching — not to be spreading misinformation about it. To be Wesleyan is to believe that that faith in Christ can both change a person’s life and positively impact the society around us — it’s a Kingdom message. I figure I’m a Metho-Pente-Ortho-Evanglical with a love for the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. Yes, I know there’s no going back. But, the holiness and Pentecostal folks that first preached the Gospel to me and modeled the Christian life for me set me on a road that I have been following ever since. If that has set me off from the typical contemporary evangelical, so be it. But, I’m still following, taking my cues from the folks who were initially faithful enough to share the Gospel with me. I want to share it with others. And, that’s “evangelical” in my book — whatever other people may think!” (Here)

I’ve never read anything by Pannenberg, but I could have written everything else in that quote myself, though it would be impoverished of some of it’s elegance.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Craig L. Adams

    Thanks for quoting and linking, Derek. Much appreciated. And, I’m glad my words rung true for you as well.

  • James Palmer

    Great stuff! I love it.

  • Graham Douglas-Meyer

    Derek, thank you. I am Gay I am a Christian and I regard myself as an Evangelical. I don’t believe in Liberation Theology. I believe that the thought that one translation of our wonderful bible is in-errant is to discount all of the wonderful work that has been done by biblical scholars since the production of the beautiful KJV.

    I love scripture. I also love to read it in context, with an understanding of the idiom and cultural expectations at the time. By doing so, we discover that Our wonderful bible does not exclude so many of those that the ‘churchified’ like to use in such a pharisaical manner.

    Keep up the excellent work.

    • Derek Ouellette

      Thanks for sharing Graham