They called me an Evangelical Part 7
Was Jesus an Evangelical?
Pete was feeling mischievous, perhaps fired up by the sizzling mongolian lamb. “These last weeks have got me thinking: was Jesus an Evangelical?”
We all laughed, but Larry went on to take the question seriously.
“Undoubtedly. And he was also a good Catholic, and a good Liberal, and a good Eastern Orthodox, and a good Pentecostal – at their best. What I mean is that Evangelicals haven’t got exclusive rights to the Gospel. There’s no room for self-righteousness. Never judge individuals by such labels; look for what they truly believe about Jesus, and how they reflect their relationship with him in life. Cheer when you find common ground based on the biblical revelation! There are people of Evangelical mind in most Christian traditions.”
“That reminds me”, I said, “of a book by C S Lewis called ‘Mere Christianity.’ Lewis said he wasn’t interested in discussing differences of belief between Christian churches, because the similarities far outweighed the differences, and he just wanted to spread the word about what is central to the faith.”
“Yes”, said Larry, “a bit sweeping, but good advice.”
“Then” said Pete with a touch of apparent irritation, “Why have we been bothering to discuss labels?”
“Oh I think that’s a bit unfair”, said Marian. “I’ve learnt a lot about how to judge the things people say, and where they’re coming from. We need to do this to stay on the right track. By the way, we’ve selected our new minister, and he’s what I would call an Evangelical in what Larry just described as ‘the best sense’.”
We asked who had been selected, and talked for a few minutes about what this could mean for Pete’s and Marian’s church. Then Pete summed up.
“I guess I was just teasing a moment ago. I can actually see why we need labels. And I’ve now got a much clearer idea of what an Evangelical is. I’m one! And I won’t feel insulted if someone tries to pin the label on me, even for the wrong reason. In fact, it’ll be a good conversation-starter if they do. It’ll give me a chance to explain where I’m coming from.”
“So long as the conversation leads to Jesus”, I said.
“For sure”, came the chorus, as we packed up and went our ways, well fed.
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