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The Meaning of ‘Evangelical’


7 Bl’s und’g of evangelical: [1] the message of salvation grounded in the atonement.
[2] this message is to be proclaimed since proclamation inheres the
[3] the message elicits decision.

p7 evangelical is associated with the Reformation’s evangelische: [1] centrality of JC, [2] justification by faith, [3] all of the above attested in S.
Note the relation of sola scriptura, sola fide, solus Christus. All hearing/ heeding of JC takes the form of hearing/heeding theprophetic & apostolic testimony to him.

p7 evangelical is also associated with the post-Ref. “spiritual movement of purification”: Pietism and Puritanism.
In sum, the evangelical progression is cross+proclamation+decision+conversion+holiness of heart+holiness of life.

p8 Note the difference between semi-Pelagianism and “co-operation” (but not synergism!)

Catholic vs catholic: Romanism isn’t catholic enough. Romanism neglected too much ballast in ship’s keel.

Note the many aspects of what Bl says (The Future of Evangelicalism) is needed in terms of both restoration and balance. All of this is needed bec. evangelicalism is susceptible to heterodoxy, to the modern consciousness.

Then what do we mean by “catholic”? Identity plus Universality.
Identity: that which distinguishes the church from the world.
Universality: that which impels the church to embrace the world.
Note the catholicism of the early church.
Note the necessity of both organization and theology. Note the place of the creeds. Note what happens with the evangelical and the catholic are separated from each other.

Liberalism (theol.)= the world’s self-und’g is the starting point, controlling principle, measure and agenda of the church’s self-und’g.

Liberalism denatures the gospel into ethics, ontology and mysticism.
Note the differences between evan’m and lib’m w.r.t. God, Christ, sin, righteousness, personal atittude.
Note the several features of lib’m, as well as its moving from adaptation to adoption.

p14 Some of evangelicalism’s non-negotiables:
[1] absolute transcendence of God
[2] authority and inspiration of S.
[3] humankind’s radical sinfulness
[4] the deity of Christ
[5] the atonement
[6] kingdom of God
[7] final judgement
[8] priority of evangelism
[9] service to others over self-fulfillment

p18 A Systematic Evangelical Theology
-must be rational without being rationalistic
-must be both dogmatic and apologetic
-must resist current heresies: universalism and unitarianism.
-must recognize what is the legitimate domain for theol. and what is not.

Points to Remember

1] evangelical always pertains to the gospel, not to a liturgical style or a hymn style.

2] is always related to S. There is no knowledge of the gospel apart from S. While the gospel isn’t the same as S, S + HSp= gospel.
Calvin: gospel=the effectual presence (i.e., presence and power) of JC
Luther: gospel=the promise of God fulfilled in our midst.
Lest we think JC to be “bare” or “naked” and therefore to be clothed with the ideation or ideology that we choose, Calvin speaks of “Christ clothed with this gospel.”

3] cherishes the evangelical revival of the 18th century. Note how this differs from (a) church-growth movement  (b) the re-enthusing of the saints.

4] biblical theology is the theology of the whole bible, as salvation is the entire creation healed.

5] the distinctive doctrines that evangelicals insist on are found in the teaching of Jesus otherwise (a) we are left saying that the apostles invented an evangelicalism that Jesus didn’t intend (b) we are left neglecting the concrete rigour of discipleship as depicted in the written gospels.

6] what is old needs to be freshly understood.

7] while the human condition doesn’t change, the human situation is always changing.

8] the doctrinally novel is ipso facto heretical.