The Common Good

Terry Mattingly: Has 'evangelical' become too much a negative term?

Date: January 11, 2013

List America's prominent evangelicals and the Rev. Rick Warren remains near the top, right up there with the Rev. Brian McLaren, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Jim Wallis, the Rev. Tim Keller and others.

Evangelicals, of course, have been known to argue about who belongs on that list. In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that the experts are struggling to decide who is and who is not an "evangelical" in the first place.

"I know what the word 'evangelical' is supposed to mean," said Warren, 58, leader of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with its many branches and ministries. "I mean, I know what the word 'evangelical' used to mean."