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Yesterday I posted a recent interview with Rob Bell about what an “evangelical” is, and I said I’d weigh in today. I don’t think Rob Bell has defined “evangelical” but given a set of statements that are true about the use of the term in the media (political conservatives, sometimes anti-intellectual) and that are reactive and corrective to that stereotype. We need to avoid falling for how the media define terms, and it is a constant temptation in sound byte format to make our point — and that usually blocks perspective and dimension.
) in the UK. They agree on this: an evangelical is a Christian Protestant for whom the central ideas are the leading authority of Scripture, the necessity of personal conversion, the centrality of the death of Christ on the cross as a substitutionary atonement, and the importance of a life of active following Jesus, seen in such things as Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, and deeds of compassion and justice. That is the standard definition of evangelical. This definition summarizes those who care about getting this term accurate. It is not a definition designed to exclude some of whom they are worried. It’s big tent definition, but it bears no ill-will toward others.