[quote=mark a]I read these terms in these forums all the time, but really don’t know who they are or what they stand for.
Are they types of Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.?
Do they bicker amongst themselves like Catholics? Or do they use Catholics for target practice?
I would especially like to hear from former evangelicals, fundamentalists, and pentecostals who can give me unbiased info and not the usual Catholic spill.
EVANGELICALS: a catch-term for a variety of Protestant fellowships which are essentially conservative in their theology, rather strict in their personal piety and spirituality, lay some emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel to others, and emphasize the inerrancy of Scripture.
Originally this term was applied mainly to Lutherans; it came into popular use largely as a result of the periodical “Christianity Today”, which is still a flagship publication of evangelicalism. It was favored over the term ‘fndamentalist’ which became a pejorative in the 1940’s. Karl Keating’s magnum opus is widely deemed to be deliberately inflamatory, because he favors the term ‘fundamentalist’ over the term ‘evangelical’. Evangelicals will happily evanglize marginalised Roman Catholics, although most evangelicals deem the Catholic Church, in it’s ‘offical’ doctrine, to be (barely) within the pale of orthodoxy. Evangelicals tend to feel much the same way about most of the older, established Protestant denominations such as the United Methodists, Presbyterians, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, etcetera. Often, the Evangelical wing of established denominations have broken away from the older denomination–hence, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, Independant Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and so forth. In other cases, they have formed associations within established denominations.
Typically the Evangelical pastor will be seminary-trained or at least have had a BA in theology plus several years of service as an associate pastor or youth pastor: they will therefore be fairly well educated and sophisticated, pretty genteel in their manner. Their congregations, likewise, are apt to be composed largely of educated, middle-class people. However, the evangelical churches differ from what are sometimes deemed the ‘mainline’ denominations in that absolutely NO tampering with basic theology is tolerated: no ‘higher criticism’ of Scripture, no ‘open theism’, no speculation that the Second Coming might be an allegory, etcetera.