Please Pick a New Word

Posted: October 27, 2012 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized
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By Matt Horan

The other day someone emailed me about my blog about amicable separation of the United Methodist Church.  He talked about the difference between liberals and evangelicals, which is the place where I stopped reading.

If someone asks a Christian, “Hey are you an evangelical?” the correct answer is “Yes.”  “Evangel” means “good news.”  Evangelists tell people good news.  If someone or something is evangelical, it is contributing to the spread of good news.  Our Good News is that while we were dead to sin, God sent his son Jesus Christ to live and die for us and raised him to new life before us.  We can be joined with this Jesus and live a new life and leave the old one behind.  Good News.

I know that it helps to be able to judge people by the group.  It’s so easy to talk about liberals or conservatives when we can group them all together and take a big swipe or two at them.  But here’s the thing that made me blog today:

There cannot be some Christians who aren’t evangelical. 

Now I know that there are some.  I know that some astounding number like 9 out of 10 United Methodist churches haven’t led a new person to Christ in the last ten years.  I guess it’s safe to say that those churches are not evangelical.  But if they’re not evangelical, does that mean that they’re liberal?  Well, as vague and unhelpful and overused as the words “liberal” and “conservative” are, if you mean to ask, “Do they reject one or all of the five-points of Calvinism or the five fundamentals of fundamentalism?” the answer is: sometimes.  If you mean to ask, “Do gay people go to church there?” the answer is: sometimes.

Here’s the deal.  Every church needs to be evangelical.  No amount of church marketing will ever replace the value of a friend inviting another friend to church with them.  Nine out of ten people who decide to come back to a church a second time were invited and met there on their first visit by a friend.

So, to the churches who believe that salvation only comes to those who meet the strictest fundamental criteria to get through the narrow gate: please tell people the good news.

To the churches who believe that salvation comes to all–including gay people–because in the end “Love Wins,”: please tell people the good news.

To anybody who wants to think of a word to overgeneralize and encapsulate “conservative” or “liberal” Christians–whatever that means–please pick a new word.  “Evangelical” is already supposed to be taken by all Christians everywhere.


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