Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Confession: I am Evangelical

I have a confession.  I am evangelical.  No. I am not evangelical in the sense that the word is often understood, today--synonymous with fundamentalism.  I am far from a fundamentalist.  I'm not even evangelical in that I don't care much about "personal conversion," or "biblical authority" (as Wikipedia describes the tenets of Evangelicalism) nor do I necessarily believe that Jesus' death saves us, at least not in any traditional sense.

However, even while I don't fit into these categories or boundaries, I am not ready to surrender the word "evangelical" to those who want to apply it narrowly.  Consider the root of evangelical--evangelion--meaning "gospel" or "good news."  I am all about the good news, the good news that:

  • No height nor depth can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:39)
  • Blessed are the poor for they will inherit the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)
  • There's neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28)
  • God loved the world so much that God sent his son, so that we might have eternal life (John 3:16)
 I will not let those who think evangelical means subscribing to certain dogmas have a monopoly on the good news. I will not let those who are quick to decide who is in and who is out--forever damned to "hell"--hijack the term evangelical when that understanding is really not good news at all! 

I believe in God whose love reaches to the highest heights and the lowest depths. I believe in God who doesn't reinforce the power structures of patriarchy, racism, wealth, etc., but rather sides with those on the margins. All of this is good news--this is evangelion--and this is why I am evangelical.

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