Do You Call Yourself “Still Evangelical”?

“We seem to have forgotten who we are and why we are who we are.”
– Mark Young

Still Evangelical?

If you once considered yourself an evangelical, do you now?

It’s a question many of us wrestle with. Within ourselves. With the outside world. Even at times with God.

This is also the question asked over and again in this new book, Still Evangelical?: Ten Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning.

The question “Still evangelical?” is answered by ten different voices from the Christian community, and edited by Mark Labberton, including these:

  • Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians
  • Jim Daly, Focus on the Family
  • Mark Galli, Christianity Today
  • Lisa Sharon Harper, FreedomRoad.us
  • Tom Lin, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Karen Swallow Prior, Liberty University
  • Soong-Chan Rah, North Park University
  • Allen Yeh, Biola University
  • Mark Young, Denver Seminary

Nobody gives a perfect answer. There are none. We want to get this right. But we can’t, not exactly. We’re flawed. We’re limited. We’re human.

In the book, some ask more questions. Some propose suggestions. Some agree; some disagree.

But nobody is just lying down and giving up.

Excerpts

These voices are interesting to listen to. Here are a few snippets I heard in this book.

~ * ~

The efforts spent on defending our turf in the culture wars could be better served in loving our neighbor as ourselves.

~ * ~

Christians in America in general have an image problem. When the Barna Group polled the country and asked young non-Christians what their perceptions of Christians were, the top responses were (1) anti-gay, (2) judgmental, and (3) hypocritical.

~ * ~

The very thing that Jesus said the world would know we are Christians by—love—didn’t even register on the chart.

~ * ~

So how much do you have to “know” to be a Christian? And how “right” does it have to be? I’m wondering if, several centuries from now, people will look back at American Protestant evangelicalism and say, “Wow, they sure got such-and-such wrong.” How do we know that we have everything 100 percent correct? Don’t you think that God will give us some grace for the things we believed wrongly but sincerely? I sure hope so.

~ * ~

I realize Christians don’t always have the best reputation in the world, but I see that as a challenge to sing a better harmony rather than give up on the choir.

~ * ~

Every human being is made in the image of God, and any time a life is lost, we lose a little glimpse of God in the world.

~ * ~

I believe we should have two questions on the tip of our tongue as we engage with those around us: 1. Help me understand what you believe. 2. What brought you to those conclusions?

* * *

My thanks to NetGalley
for the review copy of this book

One thought on “Do You Call Yourself “Still Evangelical”?

  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Hi Lisa,
    thanks for posting. You didn’t say whether or not you endorse the book. Do you? Evangelical is a perfectly good, true, and useful word. The difficulty is that words change connotations and over time, they no longer boast their dictionary definitions. After all the vitriol both expressed by Evangelicals and at them of late, I am reconsidering whether or not I want to be associated with the newer connotations of the word. I’m a Christian, a Christ-follower. I will say that with humility, because sadly, I don’t always live up to Christ’s teachings and ways and exemplify them in my life. I don’t love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself. It’s a high calling, and I fail so often. But as a Christian, it goes without saying that I must be humble enough to say (and mean) that I am a sinner, to confess when I have sinned, to make restitution and to attempt reconciliation whenever possible and to not hold myself up as some paragon of virtue and condemn everyone else. There is no room for hubris or mean-spiritedness in my life, such as I have seen of late in those who claim to be Evangelicals. There is no room for hypocrisy. The sad truth is that those who don’t know the Lord are watching, and Christians have a great responsibility to witness well for Christ to them…. not just in words and labels, but in attitudes and actions. I know I need a lot of grace to do that.
    Thank you for sharing. Looks like an interesting book.
    Lynn

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