Evangelicalism

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Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace, solely through faith in Jesus's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.
Its origins are usually traced to 1738, with various theological streams contributing to its foundation, including English Methodism, the Moravian Church (in particular its bishop Nicolaus Zinzendorf and his community at Herrnhut, and German Lutheran Pietism Preeminently, John Wesley and other early Methodists were at the root of sparking this new movement during the First Great Awakening; which marked the rise of evangelical religion in colonial America.
Today, evangelicals are found across many Protestant branches, as well as in various denominations not subsumed to a specific branch.

Quotes[edit]

The term 'evangelical' has a very broad set of meanings in Christianity. In its origins, it refers to the evangel, which is a Greek word from the New Testament that refers to the 'good news', or the gospel of Jesus Christ. ~ John Green
‘‘The common view is that clergy and lay activists in theologically conservative Protestant churches represent a large, hyperactive and newly mobilized cadre of traditionalists’’ ~ Guth and Green
They get their people for one hour, and Sean Hannity gets them for the next 20. ~ Joel Rainey
"White evangelical protestants are some of the most reliably conservative and Republican voters in the electorate. African-American protestants, on the other hand, are some of the most strongly and consistently Democratic voters in the electorate.
If you didn't look at them separately," he added, "if you lumped them all together, you would miss a big part of the story about the connections and the interrelations of religion, race, and politics in the U.S.. ~ Greg Smith
  • [A]mong evangelical Protestants, at least, birth control — and who has access to it — has only recently become a major political issue. Unlike Catholics, whose catechism denounces use of most forms of contraception as a sin, evangelical Protestants by and large do not. (Because of the disparate nature of evangelical Protestantism, which includes hundreds if not thousands of separate denominations, it’s difficult to speak of a “formal stance” in the way we can of Catholics.) But alongside Catholic organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor, it’s evangelical-led companies like Hobby Lobby that have been on the forefront of opposition to the ACA birth control mandate.
    In this, the evangelical stance on the ACA birth control mandate reflects a wider issue: the increased convergence of Catholics and evangelical Protestants — hardly historical allies — on social issues in the past few decades, as issues like the same-sex marriage debate and abortion have united the two socially conservative groups. As David Talcott, professor of philosophy at King’s College and an expert in Christian sexual ethics, told Vox, “Catholic and conservative evangelicals have become allies of certain kinds,” each defending the interests of other, as theological and philosophical overlap between the two.
    Recent research supports the idea of overlap between traditional Catholic and Protestant thought. Earlier this fall, a Pew Research Center study found that average Protestants more often than not assert traditionally Catholic teachings about, among other things, the nature of salvation or the role of church teaching, reflecting a cultural crossover — however unconscious — between the two groups.
    In contrast to the Catholic stance, the current set of evangelical objections to the ACA birth control mandate have less to do with any formal doctrine about birth control per se than they do about wider cultural issues, including the abortion debate, the aftermath of the sexual revolution, and precedents for religious exemptions more generally.
  • The claim that participation in an evangelical Protestant church diminishes participation in political activity diverges from the current literature in two ways. First, the general relationship between religious and political involvement is a strong positive correlation. Putnam succinctly states the conventional wisdom by noting that churchgoers are substantially more likely to be involved in secular organizations, to vote and participate politically in other ways (Putnam, 2000). Wald (2003) discusses a small library of studies which draw this conclusion (Cassel, 1999; Hougland and Christensen, 1983; Maca-luso and Wanat, 1979; Martinson and Wilkening, 1987; Rosenstone andHansen, 1993). Such studies provide a number of complementary explanations for the positive relationship, including the development of civic skills (Verba, Schlozman, and Brady, 1995), experience in democratic decision-making (Peterson, 1992), and development of community attachments (Strateet al., 1989). Wald notes a unifying theme across these studies, however, that applies to this analysis as well, Churches serve as social networks that seem to draw participants into public affairs (2003, p. 37). The argument here is that while evangelicals’ tight social networks facilitate sporadic mobilization, the process by which those networks are formed can also serve to deflate their levels of political activity.
  • In any case, the Evangelical spirit in this sense can be understood through certain commonalities:
    * The expectation of a personal conversion experience. To be a Christian involves a wrenching process of being “born again.” As understood from the time of Jonathan Edwards, this commonly starts with an overwhelming sense of one’s sinfulness, followed by throwing oneself on God’s mercy, followed next by an inpouring of the Spirit, or of grace, and completed by a deep sense of gratitude for being redeemed through Christ. The “born again” Christian subsequently turns with enthusiasm to evangelization, seeking to bring others to Christ. The process has often been encouraged by “revivals” that feature sermons, hymn sings, prayer meetings, and altar calls, often lasting a week or more. The Revival Tent became a symbol of this style of Evangelicialism.
    * Disregard for denominational lines The conversion experience pays no attention to ecclesiastical structures. Evangelists have eschewed distinctions between Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, and so on: born-again Evangelicals might be found in all of them or in unaligned congregations. In consequence, Evangelicals have held little regard for church hierarchy. They have focused instead on building institutions that met specific needs: mission societies; tract societies; and the like. In the late twentieth century, this array of specialized organizations would be called “para churches.” The Evangelical “anti vice” societies, described in detail in Chapter 1, stand as solid late nineteenth-century examples of the same phenomenon.
    *The Centrality of the Bible. The concept of Sola Scripture, or Scripture alone as a guide to Christian belief, is shared by all Protestants. However, given their disdain for church hierarchies, Evangelicals have given the authority of the Bible still greater emphasis. Most Evangelicals have also affirmed the inerrancy of Scripture: that every word, phrase, and passage is literal truth, directly inspired by God.
    Other common evangelical traits should be mentioned. These include: emotionalism, which has been carried over from the conversion experience; crucicentrism, or stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; and-particularly among Americans-‘’a sense of living in a “chosen land” with “millennial purposes’’” regarding the coming of the Kingdom of God.
  • There has been a “sea change” over the past century in how evangelical Christians see science, a change rooted largely in the debates over evolution and the secularization of the academy, said Elaine Ecklund, professor of sociology and director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University.
    There are two parts to the problem, she said: The scientific community has not been as friendly toward evangelicals, and the religious community has not encouraged followers to pursue careers in science.
    Distrust of scientists has become part of cultural identity, of what it means to be white and evangelical in America, she said.
    For slightly different reasons, the distrust is sometimes shared by Asian, Hispanic and Black Christians, who are skeptical that hospitals and medical professionals will be sensitive to their concerns, Dr. Ecklund said.
    “We are seeing some of the implications of the inequalities in science,” she said. “This is an enormous warning of the fact that we do not have a more diverse scientific work force, religiously and racially.”
  • Evangelicalism is highly fragmented and its political effects cannot be read off from its religious doctrines. Fragmentation means that its direct political impact is always smaller than might be hoped or feared and therefore no evangelical neo-Christendom potentially dangerous to democracy is feasible. In addition, it does not seem that Third-World evangelicalism will line up with the First-World Christian right on many issues. But the results for democracy are paradoxical. Totalitarian regimes or movements are firmly resisted, as are non-Christian religious nationalisms, but authoritarian regimes which do not impinge on evangelical religion may not always be. The evangelical world is too fissured and independent to provide a firm basis for nation-wide movements advocating major political change. It is thus less ‘use’ during democratic transitions than during periods of democratic consolidation.
  • You could dismiss this all as pedantry — that using "evangelicals" as a catch-all term for a certain group of Christians is a harmless shorthand, like calling all tissues Kleenexes or all sodas Coke. But then, consider how pollsters and pundits often separate white and black evangelicals based on their political views. That's one piece of a bigger problem: the degree to which "evangelical" may be becoming redefined by its political associations.
    "While evangelical, in this traditional sense, is really a religious word," Green said, "it's become very strongly associated with Republican and conservative politics, because since the days of Ronald Reagan up until today, that group of believers have moved in that direction politically."
    Indeed, that association has grown stronger in the last couple of decades. In the late 1980s, around one-third of white evangelicals identified as Republican, according to Pew. Earlier this year, Pew found that 68 percent of white evangelicals do.
  • 1976 was the first year Gallup asked Americans if they had been "born again," as Hackett wrote in a 2008 paper. The organization's measurement methods varied over the next decade, but in 1986, the organization first asked the "born-again or evangelical" question that it uses today. Over that time, self-proclaimed born-again Christians and evangelicals helped reshape the political landscape. In 1976, the born-again former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter was elected to the White House. After that, political interest in evangelicals and born-again Christians remained, but Rev. Pat Robertson's 1988 second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in particular made it clear that white evangelicals were swinging Republican. Outspoken Christians like George W. Bush continued the trend of winning over these conservative Christians, and targeting those voters is still a key campaign strategy for politicians like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
  • Rainey, who leads Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, W.Va., said several colleagues were forced out of their churches after promoting health and vaccination guidelines.
    Politics has increasingly been shaping faith among white evangelicals, rather than the other way around, he said. Pastors’ influ-ence on their churches is decreasing. “They get their people for one hour, and Sean Hannity gets them for the next 20,” he said.
  • I think the scandal of the evangelical mind today is the gullibility that so many have been brought into — conspiracy theories, false reports and more — and so I think the Christian responsibility is we need to engage in what we call in the Christian tradition, discipleship. Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life." So Jesus literally identifies himself as the truth, therefore if there ever should be a people who care about the truth it should be people who call themselves followers of Jesus.
  • [C]onservative evangelicals lacked the Catholic social justice framework that would have led them to treat the protection of human rights as a political priority. Although a few politically progressive evangelicals in the late 1960s and early 1970s wanted to meld evangelical theology with a call for human rights and social justice, these evangelicals were few in number and had only a limited following; most evangelical political activism in the era was anchored in the concerns of the political right, not the left. Communism, moral disorder, and the sexual revolution were the primary targets of politically active conservative evangelicals in the late 1960s; the language of human rights was not yet a major part of conservative evangelicals’ political vocabulary. Most evangelical political campaigns of the era had as their primary goal the salvation of the nation from moral destruction, not the protection of human dignity. Yet ironically, it was their interest in saving the nation and in battling the sexual revolution that eventually led them to embrace the cause of saving the unborn, even though the campaign against abortion was not a political priority for them in the late 1960s.
  • Some evangelicals had already suggested that Roe represented the collapse of Christian values in the nation and symbolized the rise of a secular state. Christianity Today, for instance, had reacted to Roe by declaring in its February 1973 issue: “Christians should accustom themselves to the thought that the American state no longer supports, in any meaningful sense, the laws of God, and prepare themselves spiritually for the prospect that it may one day formally repudiate them and turn against those who seek to live by them”. But until Schaeffer, this was not a dominant idea among evangelicals. Most politically active conservative evangelicals in the mid-1970s were still more likely to see sexual promiscuity or feminism as a greater threat than abortion, and they were not likely to cite Roe as the chief symbol of a secular state that had rebelled against Christian values.
  • By portraying the campaign against abortion as a fight against the tyranny of a secular state, Schaeffer reframed what had been a Catholic human rights cause grounded in New Deal liberalism and transformed it into the centerpiece of a conservative evangelical fight for the restoration of Christian-based law in the nation and curbs on the power of the secular judiciary. Unlike Catholics, conservative evangelicals had never been advocates of the New Deal social welfare state, and they distrusted government efforts to eradicate poverty through federal programs. Most evangelicals supported capital punishment and saw no problem with wars against Communism; they therefore had no interest in linking the pro-life cause to antinuclear or antiwar movements. But they had a long tradition of campaigning against sexual immorality and moral vices, so a campaign against abortion that was linked to a broader defense of sexual morality, moral order, and the restoration of Christian values in government appealed to them. At a time when many conservative evangelicals were becoming increasingly alarmed about the sexual permissiveness and changes in gender roles in American society, and at a time when many feared that the state had rejected Christian values, the use of Roe as a symbol for the evils of a secular state made sense.

“US evangelicals in Africa put faith into action but some accused of intolerance” (18 Mar 2015)[edit]

Antony Loewenstein, “US evangelicals in Africa put faith into action but some accused of intolerance”, The Guardian, (18 Mar 2015)

Evangelicals, wherever they come from the US and elsewhere, should bring good news of inclusion and love of God rather than sowing seeds of discrimination and hate. The Gospel is supposed to be liberating to marginalised people. ~ Bishop Senyonjo

“Weber in Latin America: Is Protestant Growth Enabling the Consolidation of Democratic Capitalism?”[edit]

Anthony Gill, “Weber in Latin America: Is Protestant Growth Enabling the Consolidation of Democratic Capitalism?”, Washington.edu

Since the 1930s, a number of countries in Latin America have experienced rapid growth in the expansion of evangelical Protestantism. Has this religious change produced concomitant changes in the political landscape? Some scholars have seen the possibility of a WeberianProtestant ethic’ emerging, making the region more amenable to democratic capitalism. Others have argued that the ‘otherworldly’ nature of these new (predominantly Pentecostal) evangelicals lends itself to a more apolitical outlook and a deference to authoritarian rule.
  • Since the 1930s, a number of countries in Latin America have experienced rapid growth in the expansion of evangelical Protestantism. Has this religious change produced concomitant changes in the political landscape? Some scholars have seen the possibility of a WeberianProtestant ethic’ emerging, making the region more amenable to democratic capitalism. Others have argued that the ‘otherworldly’ nature of these new (predominantly Pentecostal) evangelicals lends itself to a more apolitical outlook and a deference to authoritarian rule. Using survey data from four countries– Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico – this article concludes that denominational affiliation has little effect on political attitudes.
    • p.1.
  • While Protestantism in Europe and the United States has tended to be linked to an active support of political democracy, the same has not been universally true for Latin American Protestants. Ireland notes that the‘prevailing stereotype of Pentecostal crentes [believers] is that they are apolitical conservatives who leave the injustices of the world to the Lord’s care, privatizing public issues and giving implicit support to authoritarian political projects’. After providing evidence from interviews with two Brazilian Pentecostal he concludes that this stereotype is largely true. His reasoning is largely derived from the fact that Pentecostal theology places far greater emphasis on achieving rewards in the afterlife than in the present world. Such a mindset creates a predilection for political apathy and acceptance of the status quo, which in Latin America has often been authoritarian. Deiros echoes this assertion by claiming that "fundamentalists tend to consider evangelism – in its narrower or ‘spiritual’ sense – to be the only legitimate activity of the church and remain wary of current trends toward church involvement in political affairs. They fear that such involvement may lead the church away from its central evangelistic mission into a substitute religion of good works, humanitarianism, and even political agitation...Because fundamentalists place the end of history outside of history, their social conscience is subdued, and their organizations reinforce this oppressed conscience by supplying a sociocultural structure which attributes a sacred character to the state of oppression...Any claim for justice or liberation from oppression is transferred to a remote eschatological future."
    This stereotype is augmented by several high profile cases wherein some evangelicals supported dictators or political leaders with an authoritarian bent: Efrain Rios Montt (Guatemala); Jorge Serrano Elias (Guatemala); the ARENA party (El Salvador); Augusto Pinochet (Chile) and Alberto Fujimori(Peru). For example, Smith and Fleet argue that in Chile, during the Pinochet years, Catholics and mainline Protestant denominations, most of which were opposed to the dictatorship, worked closely together. In contrast, the new denominations (Pentecostals as well as [Jehovah’s] Witnesses and Mormons) were more favorably disposed to the military government.
    • pp. 4-5.

Dialogue[edit]

I’m a little scared. Yeah. Because I didn’t realize this until recently, and it’s logical, but I didn’t put it together in my own mind in quite the way I have now, which is that in order for Jesus to come back, the world has to end. It has to. So that means there is about 90 to 100 million people that are pretty excited about it. And that’s kind of problematic to those of us who don’t fucking believe that shit. Right? ~ Marc Maron
  • I’m a little scared. Yeah. Because I didn’t realize this until recently, and it’s logical, but I didn’t put it together in my own mind in quite the way I have now, which is that in order for Jesus to come back, the world has to end. It has to. So that means there is about 90 to 100 million people that are pretty excited about it. And that’s kind of problematic to those of us who don’t fucking believe that shit. Right? And a lot of those people are in legislative positions. And I’m sitting there thinking, like, “Wait, what’s happening?” Is there any way they’re– they’re crafting policy to accelerate the prophecy? [scattered nervous laughter] Yeah, think about that for a second. Not exactly humorous, but powerful. If you walked up to your state senator or maybe a congressman that was an evangelical, and they were honest, and you said, “I’m a little concerned about global warming. It seems like humans are causing it. We need to do something about it. It’s happening quickly.” They would say, “Not quick enough, to be honest with you. We’re trying to get the flying Jew back. We got coal going, you know, it’s happening. We’re deregulating as fast as we can. We’re gonna make this shit happen.” Problematic, correct?

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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