I want to post two answers Rob Bell gave to the Boston Globe where he defines evangelical. Tomorrow I want to discuss something about a trend I’ve observed about the word “evangelical.” What do you think of his definition?
Q. What does it mean to you to be an evangelical?
A. [Rob Bell] I take issue with the word to a certain degree, so I make a distinction between a capital E and a small e. I was in the Caribbean in 2004, watching the election returns with a group of friends, and when Fox News, in a state of delirious joy, announced that evangelicals had helped sway the election, I realized this word has really been hijacked. I find the word troubling, because it has come in America to mean politically to the right, almost, at times, anti-intellectual. For many, the word has nothing to do with a spiritual context.
Q. OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?
A. [Rob Bell] I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.
There is a fuller version online and this was in that fuller version:
Q: Is religion a part of that?
A: At the heart of the Christian story is resurrection, the belief that this word is good, and that, as a follower of Jesus, a belief that God hasn?t abandoned the world, but is actively at work in the world. Even in the midst of what can look like despair and destruction there is a new creation present.