Are You an Evangelical?

I am often asked, “What does it mean to be an Evangelical?” The problem of defining evangelicalism is almost insurmountable. Whole books have been written about this. Attempted answers include “Anybody who believes in inerrancy” . . . “Protestants who hold to the fundamentals of the faith” . . . “Anybody who likes Billy Graham.” I once answered the question of Evangelical identity with the statement, “An Evangelical is a person who attends an Evangelical church, believes Evangelical doctrines, supports Evangelical organizations, and hangs out with other Evangelicals.”

As I was sitting in church one day, the pastor said something and I thought, “Now only an Evangelical would say that.” This brought the question into my mind again: what makes a person an Evangelical?

So, I jotted down a few telltale signs of Evangelical identity. It’s just a working list and I’m sure we could add dozens more.

1. At least half of all businesses you patronize have a fish symbol in the window.

2. Without hesitation you can complete the phrase, “And all God’s people said…”

3. You’ve attended or watched Billy Graham crusades even though you’ve been saved for decades.

4. You really believe FoxNews is fair and balanced.

5. You’ve done two of the four following activities: attended a stewardship seminar, attended a marriage conference, homeschooled your children, or boycotted a
business.

6. You know the meaning of at least three of the four following abbreviations: TBN, BJU, NIV, and SBC.

7. You actually understand numbers 1–6.

I could come up with more, but why don’t you help? What are some “litmus tests” of Evangelicalism that might help us work out a more satisfactory description?

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