The word "evangelical" is used in many different ways these days, and there is much debate about its meaning. My preference is for J.I. Packer's six distinctives of evangelicalism, which are endorsed by John Stott and Alister McGrath, all three of whom are prominent evangelical Anglicans.
The supreme authority of Scripture for knowledge of God and as guide to Christian living.
The majesty of Jesus Christ as incarnate God and Lord, and the saviour of sinful humanity.
The lordship of the Holy Spirit.
The need for personal conversion.
The priority of evangelism for both individual Christians and for the Church as a whole.
The importance of Christian community for spiritual nourishment, fellowship and growth.
(See Alister E. McGrath, Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity, Leicester: IVP, 1995, p. 51.).
Here we see the evangelical commitment to the Bible as not only being the word of human authors but also the word of God; the unique person and work of Jesus Christ by which sinners may be justified before a holy God by putting their faith in him; the encounter with God's Spirit who inspired the Scriptures and speaks through them; the call to personal (though not individualistic) repentance; the commission to proclaim the Gospel in all the world; and the commitment to the life of the Church. It is a set of short and simple statements but between them they define the movement well.
Read it all.
Posted January 8, 2013 at 5:46 am
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