[This ia stern warning from a leading evangelical. We better listen. And, I openly admit, I fully agree with Scot.]
It’s time to bury the word “evangelical.” It’s both past time to bury it but it’s also time yet again to bury it.
I have a strategy for doing so, but first this:
Kate Shellnutt, at CT, writes,
More than 80 years ago, the first president of Princeton Evangelical Fellowship aspired for the organization to allow students “to enjoy Christian fellowship one with another, to bear united witness to the faith of its members in the whole Bible as the inspired Word of God, and to encourage other students to take, with them, a definite stand for Christ on the campus.”
In 2017, the Ivy League student ministry remains fully committed to this purpose … just without calling themselves evangelical.
The long-running organization changed its name this year to become Princeton Christian Fellowship, citing baggage surrounding the evangelical label.
“There’s a growing recognition that the term evangelical is increasingly either confusing, or unknown, or misunderstood to students,” the organization’s director, Bill Boyce, told The Daily Princetonian.
It’s not an issue limited to the 8,000-student campus; a number of evangelicals across the country share his concerns, particularly after last year’s election linked evangelical identity with support for President Donald Trump in the public eye.
Which leads me beyond the obvious: one of the more openly affirming institutions of evangelicalism, CT, records the news that evangelical is an embattled term while CT presses forward with no desire to diminish the centrality of the term for itself. But this essay is not about CT.
It’s about that dreaded term “evangelical.”
It’s a case of only a few who like the term while many despise the term, all the while knowing there’s no other term to use.
The issue is politics; the presenting painful reality is Trump. The reality is 81% of evangelicals voted for Trump. The word “evangelical” now means Trump-voter. The word “evangelical” is spoiled.
Which means the problem is not nearly so large among self-confessed evangelicals. They admit to being evangelicals and voting for Trump and evidently see no dissonance. We don’t know how many of that 81% held their nose when they voted for Trump but this is certain: they weren’t voting for Hillary Clinton. Their evangelical convictions and their political convictions were inter-looped into voting for Trump and not Hillary (or a Democrat).Read More »