I was reading Ben Witherington's blog today. He posted an article about a survey done by "Gary A. Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, who set out to gauge levels of academic anti-Semitism compared to hostility toward other religious groups. He found that only 3 percent of college faculty holds unfavorable views toward Jews."
Another finding of this survey was that 53% of those surveyed admitted to an anti-evangelical bias.
What does evangelical mean? According to Merriam-webster, evangelical means the following:
- of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels
- emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual
I found an article on the web which says that evangelical is derived from the Greek word "euangellismos" which means: gospel or good news. Evangalism, I think, is to share the Word of God with those around us. If, by logic, an evangelical is a person who does that, then we should all be evangelicals. I hesitate, though, to assume this label.
This same article said that the characteristics of evangelicals are:
Am I an evangelical? I suppose I am, if it is defined as one who believes that we are to share the Word of God with those around us. I don't believe that I am if it is defined using the list above. I think these statements limit our faith, and limit God's gospel. While I do believe, and am grateful for the times that God transforms a person through a moment in time decision, I think he does it in more ways than this. I do believe in the necessity of activism. I also believe that the Bible give us the word of God, but I believe he communicates in more ways that just the Bible. I also believe that our salvation through the crucifixion is bigger than substitution.
- Conversionism: the belief that lives of all humans need to be changed by way of a "born again" decision to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
- Activism: the expression of the gospel in various ways, including missionary outreach and social reform.
- Biblicism: a particular regard for the Bible as the Word of God and the ultimate authority for religious belief and morality.
- Crucicentrism: a stress on the substitutionary atonement by Christ on the cross.
Why is there an anti-evangelical bias? I think I leave that for another post. I do believe it is one of those words which causes some people to have an instant negative reaction, and we need to figure out why that is the case.