Not an Evangelical
I’m still happy to be called a Christian. But rarely, if ever, have I labeled myself an ‘evangelical’. I’m a Christian who enjoys a personal relationship with God through my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps, at one time, the label ‘evangelical’ meant a person or a group who ‘actively’ preached Christ crucified – the message of the cross. But today, sadly, the term has been hijacked and misused for purposes other than the singular purpose of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ around the world. Rather than actively spreading the message of the Cross – evangelicals have become active on many other fronts and are now labeled activists. The branding today has definitely not helped in our efforts to win people to Christ.
Each to his own but when someone asks me if I am an evangelical, I ask them what they mean. If they mean ‘am I one of those activists’ or a placard-carrying protestor or one who is aligned with a certain voting bloc in our country, I assure them I am not one of those. In fact, I apologize for the distorted perceptions society now has of the beautiful Greek wordeuangelion in our New Testament.
William Edwy Vine (1873-1949) was a Bible scholar and theologian. He is best known for his major work entitled: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Here’s what he writes about that beautiful Greek word:
Euangelion originally denoted a reward for good tidings; later, the idea of reward dropped, and the word stood for “the good news” itself. The English word “gospel,” i.e. “good message,” is the equivalent of euangelion (English, “evangel”). In the New Testament it denotes the “good tidings” of the kingdom of God and of salvation through Christ, to be received by faith, on the basis of His expiatory death, His burial, resurrection, and ascension.
The Apostle Paul explained euangelion in 1Corinthians 15:1-5:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel (euangelion) I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, (2) and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (5) and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…
Paul knew what the word meant and gave his life for it. He was an activist of a totally different kind – active for God in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. If only there were more such activists today.
Tragically, other words and phrases from our Bibles are also being misused, maligned and muddied in society by religious groups and cults. Mormons frequently talk about being ‘born again by Jesus Christ’ and, along with others, they call themselves ‘christians’ but deny many of the fundamental truths of the Word of God. And then there are those great stories of ‘personal redemption’; but other than turning to God or a higher power, there seems to be little or no genuine appreciation for the sin-atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Biblical terms and the Gospel will always be scorned by the world. The message of the cross has always been distasteful and offensive to society. (1Corinthians 1:18) But much of the backlash we see today and the relentless criticism of so-called evangelicals has very little to do with John 3:16.
It would be a tragedy to suffer persecution or lose many of our freedoms for all the wrong reasons. Peter wrote about self-inflicted suffering and persecution in contrast to suffering for Jesus’ sake. (1Peter 2:20-25)
Later in 1Peter 4 he writes more about insults, suffering and reproaches that are caused by our own misguided actions. Such trials and suffering have nothing to do with being partakers of Christ’s sufferings. If, however, we are exhibiting Christ-like qualities to the world around us and are minding our own business of simply and sweetly sharing the ‘good news’ of Christ with others –– if we suffer for that — do not be ashamed; but rather glorify God. Like others, rejoice that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.
Kim Phuc – Searching for Light in Dense Darkness Read the Latest Story on heaven4sure.com
One Way to Witness: Include www.heaven4sure.com as a FACEBOOK Link: Links really do work! Every day new visitors are finding their way to the Gospel website via links posted on Facebook or other social networking sites.
Vehicle Magnet: 9.75″X1.75″ (22cmX4.5cm) Blue lettering on white. Unobtrusive and inoffensive way to help promote the Gospel in traffic and parking lots. For your free magnet, click here to email your name and postal address. Also put ‘magnet’ in the subject line of your email.
Automatic Signature: If you include www.heaven4sure.com in your automatic email signature, you will increase the number of visitors to the Gospel site. This is particularly relevant if you are in contact with those who do not yet know Christ.
Facebook Twitter: pdr_heaven4sure