What makes an Evangelical?

A couple of posts from Todd Pruitt:

In a recent interview Phil Johnson was asked, “What is the biggest problem facing evangelicalism today and how should we respond?”

Johnson answers:

The greatest problem I see is the ever-broadening boundary of the evangelical movement and (corresponding to that) the increasingly ambiguous definition of evangelicalism. Evangelicals are too concerned with gaining collective clout and publicity and not concerned enough with being evangelical (being faithful to the gospel). Many of evangelicalism’s most visible and popular leaders and institutions—including evangelicalism’s self-styled “house organ,” Christianity Today magazine—have been tearing down evangelical boundaries instead of guarding them. Consequently, a host of dangerous influences have infiltrated the evangelical movement and people in the pews don’t see the danger, because it’s considered impolite to be critical of a fellow “evangelical.” In an era where everyone from Benny Hinn to Brian McLaren wears the evangelical label, it is sheer folly to be so blithely accepting of everything and everyone who claims to be evangelical. That attitude has already ruined the evangelical testimony and done much to render the evangelical movement spiritually impotent.

How should we respond? We need to recover our love of the truth, our courage in standing for it, and our will to defend it.

Similarly, Carl Trueman:

[Evangelicalism] seems less sure of its identity than at any point in its history. I never cease to be shocked by how little I have in common with many others in the United Kingdom who now claim the name evangelical. One can deny that God knows the future, one can deny that the Bible is inspired, one can deny that justification is by grace through faith, one can deny that Christ is the only way to salvation – one can do all of these things and still remain a member in good standing of certain high-profile evangelical bodies.

The confusion such a situation represents indicates both the doctrinal and, perhaps more importantly, the moral void that lies at the heart of so much…evangelicalism at this time, when few if any are willing to take the difficult decision to stand firm on the non-negotiable aspects of the faith. We desperately need a deeper grasp of the importance of these issues if we are not to sell our heritage for a pot of stew.

From Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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