They called me an Evangelical Part 1

Compliment or put-down?

“The other day somebody called me an Evangelical”, said Pete, as he joined me for a lunch-break during work. “I didn’t know whether he was paying me a compliment or an insult.” “I don’t like labels anyway”, he added, “and the press have had a field day with this one. But some of my best friends seem willing to wear it. What do you reckon?”

Pete was a keen Christian, active in his church and highly respected where I worked for his integrity and willingness to lend a hand. Occasionally he talked about his faith. but he was never pushy. A couple of our mates had started to ask serious questions. I also knew that back in his church, Pete was disturbed by some of the things his minister said from time to time, because they seemed to be at odds with key Christian beliefs. He hadn’t actually said as much to the minister, because he wasn’t sure he could explain why he felt this way. From where I sat, I would have said that Pete was as close to being an Evangelical as you could get without realising you were one. Lots of keen church people are. But then, I was thinking of what the word “Evangelical” has come to mean in the history of the church, and I knew Pete wouldn’t be up on that.

I muttered something about needing to understand the theological side-tracks that some churches get into, to the detriment of the Gospel. It was a clumsy remark but Pete jumped on it. “Does that mean you’d be happy to call yourself an Evangelical?” he said. I nodded. “Well,” he continued, “how about coming round to my place at the week¬nd to talk about it?” Knowing one of my weaknesses, he added: “We could get Chinese take-away.”

I was hooked. As it turned out, Pete asked Larry along too. Larry knew a lot more about the issues than I did. In the end, we met at Pete’s place several times. I blame it on the satay beef.

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