Evangelical – the label that left me behind

I haven’t used the label Evangelical for a long time now. It’s not that I’ve moved away from its classic definition but that the modern understanding of the word is far from who I am in Christ. So instead I turn to the words that have been honored for the past two thousand years:

Christian (Acts 11:26)

Person of the way of Jesus (Acts 9:2)

Child of God (John 1:12)

Friend of Jesus (John 15:15)

Co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17)

These are merely a few of the passages describing our relationship with Jesus. The word Evangelical is nowhere found in any of them. They sound good to me, though.

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10 Responses to Evangelical – the label that left me behind

  1. esbee says:

    very well said, just Christian will do for me

  2. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    “Friend of Jesus” – I just love that one!

  3. To be honest I never felt I understood what Evangelical meant enough to really claim it as a label that fit. It even seemed to change depending on who was talking about the label. The label Christian may have its issues, but I understand what it means and that makes quite a bit of difference for me.

  4. Julie Frady says:

    Evangelical means “bearer of good news.” That’s why I liked the term. But you are right, it has been ruined.
    BTW, “Christian” was not a nice term when it was coined in Antioch. It was derogatory, and believers in the first century did not like the term. That’s why in 1 Peter 4:16 Peter says “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” He is talking to persecuted believers, who, on top of being physically persecuted are also being mocked. The term means, loosely, “one who is crazy or out of his mind about Christ.” That doesn’t sound too bad to us today, but when they meant “crazy” they really did mean one who needed to be put into an asylum, not one who is just a big fan or devoted to something. Believers themselves do not embrace the term until sometime in the second century. To rephrase Peter, it might be like being told today, “However, if you suffer as an idiot for Jesus, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
    Just thought you might find that interesting.

  5. Richard says:

    Given the gross mix of religion and politics that has emerged more recently, I am less sure of using even the term Christian without some sort of qualification to go along with it.

  6. Pastor Bob says:

    Much of the “negative” comes from the enemies of Christ.
    Some other descriptors work, but “Friend of Christ” is a very good start.

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