Defining 'Evangelicals' in an Election Year

Here we go again. Presidential elections are coming, and the role of “evangelicals” is predictably becoming a hot political story. Voices on both the Religious Right and secular Left describe evangelicals as zealous members of the ultra-conservative political base.

Why? Perhaps because some conservative Republicans want to claim a religious legitimacy and constituency for their ideological agenda, and some political liberals seem determined to portray religious people as intellectually flawed, right-wing crazies with dangerous plans for the country.

Let me be clear as someone who is part of a faith community that is, once again, being misrepresented and manipulated. Most people see me as politically progressive. And I am an evangelical Christian.

I believe in one God, the centrality and Lordship of God’s son, Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, the authority of the scriptures, the saving death of the crucified Christ, and his bodily resurrection.

I love my liberal church friends, but I am more theologically conservative. I have many allies on the religious Left, but I am not a member of it. I work closely with brothers and sisters of other faith traditions where we have common concerns, but I will never compromise the truth of my own faith. I collaborate with people of no religious affiliation—religion has no monopoly on morality. But I also believe in evangelism, and I have called and led people to faith in Jesus Christ.

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