What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?


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There are two types of evangelicals in the United States, says Hayhoe: political and theological.

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But there are ways to communicate the importance of addressing climate change across the political spectrum, says Meyaard-Schaap. He says that, when talking to conservatives, YECA emphasizes the economic freedom that comes from not accessing energy through a regulated monopoly. Also a plus: the national security benefits of not being dependent on hostile foreign powers for oil.

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While approving of the evangelical distinctions proposed by Bebbington, confessional evangelicals believe that authentic evangelicalism requires more concrete definition in order to protect the movement from theological liberalism and from heresy. According to confessional evangelicals, subscription to the ecumenical creeds and to the Reformation-era confessions of faith such as the confessions of the Reformed churches provides such protection. The emphasis on historic Protestant orthodoxy among confessional evangelicals stands in direct contrast to an anti-creedal outlook that has exerted its own influence on evangelicalism, particularly among churches strongly affected by revivalism and by pietism.

Evangelicals dissatisfied with the movement's conservative mainstream have been variously described as progressive evangelicals, post-conservative evangelicals, Open Evangelicals and post-evangelicals. Progressive evangelicals, also known as the evangelical left , share theological or social views with other progressive Christians while also identifying with evangelicalism. Progressive evangelicals commonly advocate for women's equality, pacifism and social justice. As described by Baptist theologian Roger E.

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Olson , post-conservative evangelicalism is a theological school of thought that adheres to the four marks of evangelicalism, while being less rigid and more inclusive of other Christians. According to Olson, post-conservatives believe that doctrinal truth is secondary to spiritual experience shaped by Scripture. Post-conservative evangelicals seek greater dialogue with other Christian traditions and support the development of a multicultural evangelical theology that incorporates the voices of women, racial minorities, and Christians in the developing world.

Some post-conservative evangelicals also support open theism and the possibility of near universal salvation. The term "Open Evangelical" refers to a particular Christian school of thought or churchmanship , primarily in Great Britain especially in the Church of England.

Open evangelicals describe their position as combining a traditional evangelical emphasis on the nature of scriptural authority, the teaching of the ecumenical creeds and other traditional doctrinal teachings, with an approach towards culture and other theological points-of-view which tends to be more inclusive than that taken by other evangelicals.

Some open evangelicals aim to take a middle position between conservative and charismatic evangelicals, while others would combine conservative theological emphases with more liberal social positions.


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British author Dave Tomlinson coined the phrase post-evangelical to describe a movement comprising various trends of dissatisfaction among evangelicals. Others use the term with comparable intent, often to distinguish evangelicals in the so-called emerging church movement from post-evangelicals and anti-evangelicals. Tomlinson argues that "linguistically, the distinction [between evangelical and post-evangelical] resembles the one that sociologists make between the modern and postmodern eras". Evangelicalism did not take recognizable form until the 18th century, first in Britain and its North American colonies.

Nevertheless, there were earlier developments within the larger Protestant world that preceded and influenced the later evangelical revivals. According to religion scholar, social activist, and politician Randall Balmer , Evangelicalism resulted "from the confluence of Pietism, Presbyterianism, and the vestiges of Puritanism.

Evangelicalism picked up the peculiar characteristics from each strain — warmhearted spirituality from the Pietists for instance , doctrinal precisionism from the Presbyterians, and individualistic introspection from the Puritans". During the 17th century, Pietism emerged in Europe as a movement for the revival of piety and devotion within the Lutheran church.

As a protest against "cold orthodoxy" or an overly formal and rational Christianity, Pietists advocated for an experiential religion that stressed high moral standards for both clergy and lay people. The movement included both Christians who remained in the liturgical , state churches as well as separatist groups who rejected the use of baptismal fonts, altars, pulpits, and confessionals.

As Pietism spread, the movement's ideals and aspirations influenced and were absorbed into early Evangelicalism. The Presbyterian heritage not only gave Evangelicalism a commitment to Protestant orthodoxy but also contributed a revival tradition that stretched back to the s in Scotland and Northern Ireland. For Presbyterians, celebrations of Holy Communion were infrequent but popular events preceded by several Sundays of preparatory preaching and accompanied with preaching, singing, and prayers.

Puritanism combined Calvinism with teaching that conversion was a prerequisite for church membership and a stress on the study of Scripture by lay people. It took root in New England, where the Congregational church was an established religion. The Half-Way Covenant of allowed parents who had not testified to a conversion experience to have their children baptized, while reserving Holy Communion for converted church members alone. This concern over declining religious commitment led many people to support evangelical revival. High Church Anglicanism also exerted influence on early Evangelicalism.

High Churchmen were distinguished by their desire to adhere to primitive Christianity. This desire included imitating the faith and ascetic practices of early Christians as well as regularly partaking of Holy Communion. High Churchmen were also enthusiastic organizers of voluntary religious societies. Two of the most prominent were the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge , which distributed Bibles and other literature and built schools, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts , which was created to facilitate missionary work in British colonies.

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In the s, Evangelicalism emerged as a distinct phenomenon out of religious revivals that began in Britain and New England. While religious revivals had occurred within Protestant churches in the past, the evangelical revivals that marked the 18th century were more intense and radical. It was developments in the doctrine of assurance that differentiated Evangelicalism from what went before.

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Bebbington says, "The dynamism of the Evangelical movement was possible only because its adherents were assured in their faith. Whereas the Puritans had held that assurance is rare, late and the fruit of struggle in the experience of believers, the Evangelicals believed it to be general, normally given at conversion and the result of simple acceptance of the gift of God.

The consequence of the altered form of the doctrine was a metamorphosis in the nature of popular Protestantism. There was a change in patterns of piety, affecting devotional and practical life in all its departments. The shift, in fact, was responsible for creating in Evangelicalism a new movement and not merely a variation on themes heard since the Reformation. The first local revival occurred in Northampton, Massachusetts , under the leadership of Congregationalist minister Jonathan Edwards. In the fall of , Edwards preached a sermon series on "Justification By Faith Alone", and the community's response was extraordinary.

Signs of religious commitment among the laity increased, especially among the town's young people. The revival ultimately spread to 25 communities in western Massachusetts and central Connecticut until it began to wane by the spring of Among them was Aaron Burr, Sr.

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In New Jersey, Gilbert Tennent , another Presbyterian minister, was preaching the evangelical message and urging the Presbyterian Church to stress the necessity of converted ministers. The spring of also marked important events in England and Wales. Howell Harris , a Welsh schoolteacher, had a conversion experience on May 25 during a communion service. He described receiving assurance of God's grace after a period of fasting , self-examination, and despair over his sins. Both men began preaching the evangelical message to large audiences, becoming leaders of the Welsh Methodist revival.

Whitefield later remarked, "About this time God was pleased to enlighten my soul, and bring me into the knowledge of His free grace, and the necessity of being justified in His sight by faith only ".

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Whitefield's fellow Holy Club member and spiritual mentor, Charles Wesley , reported an evangelical conversion in During this spiritual crisis, John Wesley was directly influenced by Pietism. Two years before his conversion, Wesley had traveled to the newly established colony of Georgia as a missionary for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Moravians' faith and piety deeply impressed Wesley, especially their belief that it was a normal part of Christian life to have an assurance of one's salvation. Have you the witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?

He observed it, and asked, "Do you know Jesus Christ? Wesley finally received the assurance he had been searching for at a meeting of a religious society in London. While listening to a reading from Martin Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans , Wesley felt spiritually transformed:. About a quarter before nine, while [the speaker] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine , and saved me from the law of sin and death.

Pietism continued to influence Wesley, who had translated 33 Pietist hymns from German to English. Numerous German Pietist hymns became part of the English Evangelical repertoire. Evangelical preachers emphasized personal salvation and piety more than ritual and tradition.

Pamphlets and printed sermons crisscrossed the Atlantic, encouraging the revivalists. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.

It reached people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety and their self-awareness. To the evangelical imperatives of Reformation Protestantism, 18th century American Christians added emphases on divine outpourings of the Holy Spirit and conversions that implanted within new believers an intense love for God.

Revivals encapsulated those hallmarks and forwarded the newly created Evangelicalism into the early republic. The start of the 19th century saw an increase in missionary work and many of the major missionary societies were founded around this time see Timeline of Christian missions. Both the Evangelical and high church movements sponsored missionaries. The Second Great Awakening which actually began in was primarily an American revivalist movement and resulted in substantial growth of the Methodist and Baptist churches.

Charles Grandison Finney was an important preacher of this period. In Britain in addition to stressing the traditional Wesleyan combination of "Bible, cross, conversion, and activism", the revivalist movement sought a universal appeal, hoping to include rich and poor, urban and rural, and men and women. Special efforts were made to attract children and to generate literature to spread the revivalist message.

What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals? What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?
What Would Jesus Say to Evangelicals?

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