What Is an Evangelical? Four Questions Offer New Definition

Want to know if someone is an evangelical?

Ask them what they believe.

That’s the conclusion of a two-year collaboration between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and Nashville-based LifeWay Research to improve the contested ways researchers quantify evangelicals in surveys. Their report, released today, defines evangelical by theology rather than by self-identity or denominational affiliation.

christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/november/what-is-evangelical-new-definition-nae-lifeway-research.html

I always thought they were the ones who told you right up front…

A curious statistic that the survey revealed:

*It also notes:
• 23 percent of Catholics and 47 percent of Protestants hold evangelical beliefs.

*What this seems to mean, at first sight, is that out of every hundred Catholics in the United States, 23 are Catholics and Evangelicals at the same time.

Who, I wonder, is going to make use of this statistic, and what for.

I second this

Not nessecarily a contradiction. My priest reckons a convert to the Catholic faith “completes” the faith they held before. In that an evangelical or an Anglican had so much but not the fullness of truth, they are now in converting a “completed” evangelical, Anglican or what have you.

We are, as disciples of Christ, called to evangelize.

Any Catholic who is not an evangelical is not following the faith…

From the article:

The new report identifies four key statements that define evangelical beliefs, creating what may be the first research-driven creed.
Those statements are:
[LIST]
*]The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
*]It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
*]Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
*]Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.[/LIST]
Only those who strongly agree with each of those statements should be considered “evangelical by belief,” according to the NAE.

According to this definition, that first bullet point would seem to rule Catholics out as evangelicals given Catholic beliefs about the authority of tradition and papal infallibility. Not surprising since the NAE and Lifeway are both Protestant groups.

That does make the reference to “23 percent of Catholics” holding evangelical beliefs interesting. Are there that many Catholics who believe in a form of sola scriptura despite official Catholic teaching?

=Randy Carson;13471219]Want to know if someone is an evangelical?

Ask them what they believe.

That’s the conclusion of a two-year collaboration between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and Nashville-based LifeWay Research to improve the contested ways researchers quantify evangelicals in surveys. Their report, released today, defines evangelical by theology rather than by self-identity or denominational affiliation.

christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/november/what-is-evangelical-new-definition-nae-lifeway-research.html

Interesting and scary at the same time:rolleyes:

God Bless Randy

So, I guess I can see some use in trying to define a term that nobody really seems to be able to agree on what it means.

As for the questions they are using, it seems to me to be a way to salvage the name “evangelical”. If they can exclude people who don’t hold strongly to those core beliefs, then it becomes easier to defend against attacks that paint evangelicals as no different than non-church goers. Divorce statistics, for instance. Surveys show no difference in divorce statistics between “evangelicals” and non-Christians. However, when you dig down into who is actually practicing their faith rather than just responding “evangelical” or “Baptist” or whatever, there is a HUGE difference in divorce statistics. If they can exclude the nominals from the begining, it becomes a lot easier to defend against.

There’s nothing here to suggest that they’re talking about converts. Catholics, including cradle Catholics, who answer Yes to the four questions are thereby labeled Evangelicals. It’s their new definition of the term.

My question remains unanswered. Who is going to make use of this statistic, and what for? I’m frankly baffled.

For what it’s worth, Lutherans have been calling themselves “Evangelical Catholics” for quite some time.

I shudder to consider the political misuses for that information.

In Germany, if I’ve understood correctly, Evangelisch is simply a synonym for Lutheran. I don’t think it means “Evangelical” in the English sense.

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