This is partly in response to PD's comments on my most recent post, but it is also something I have been mulling over for a while.
A classic, concise definition for "evangelical" as it exists in the English speaking world (meaning, it does not necessarily entail Lutheran Evangelicals) and its antecedents has been put forward by historian David Bebbington. According to him, there are four markers of an evangelical:
- Conversionism: Meaning that, as opposed to the Catholic view, evangelicals emphasize conversion as the real sign of membership in the Kingdom of God.
- Biblicism: Or known classically as Sola Scriptura. This is fairly self-explanatory, but as pointed out earlier, variously understood among evangelicals.
- Activism: Whether its slavery in late eighteenth century Britain, women's rights in late nineteenth century Britain and America, abortion in the 1970s and 80s, or Southern Baptists boycotting Disney in the 1990s, evangelicals have always been very active in society. In my opinion, this trait is one of the most interesting historically.
- Crucicentrism: This ties in heavily to point number one, but this does tend to occupy a considerable amount of evangelical theology. This is in contrast to, say, the Eastern Orthodox Christians who might emphasize the incarnation as the main soteriological event.
What do you think? Are we still evangelical?