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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why I Don’t Call Myself An Evangelical (Part 1)

So did that title catch your attention? I hope so. This issue has been “an issue” for me for about the last 4 or 5 years. Perhaps I should preface this post with an explanation. Around the world the term ‘evangelical’ means everything and anything one could possibly think of in the realm of Christendom. Interestingly, both Catholics and Protestants call themselves Evangelical in the worldwide spectrum of Christianity. So in other parts of the world (i.e. Europe) being an evangelical does not necessarily “tag” the individual as anything particular other than perhaps a Christian who proclaims the gospel (let me know if this is correct, those of you in other parts of the world). However, here in the U.S. the term ‘evangelical’ is usually relegated to fundamentalism.

In other words, someone who claims to be an “evangelical” in the U.S. is usually considered, if not otherwise clarified, a fundamentalist. I know this from personal experience. When I was at Marquette University there was an area where the grad students would hang out and discuss issues (on campus). On one occasion I was in this area with an Anglican, several Catholics, and one or two Protestants of various backgrounds. I can recall speaking up and declaring that I was an evangelical. The room got silent, and then someone piped up and said, “You mean you are a fundamentalist?” The question was asked in a sort of surprised and pejorative fashion (not rude, just surprised and a little stunned that I would admit such a thing). Well, naturally I had to explain what I meant by ‘evangelical.’

That very conversation is what actually sparked my re-thinking of what the term ‘evangelical’ has come to mean, at least in the U.S.. Moreover, I have been told by others that similar situations have happened with them as well (also here in the U.S.) So, where does this leave me? In other words, if I choose to not call myself an ‘evangelical’ then what does this mean, and what is the alternative, if there is one? I will try to answer these questions and expound on the use of “evangelical” in an upcoming post.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

You should call yourself an Evangelical of a Higher Order

7:22 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Hey Jim,

I like that but it might be construed as being a bit haughty. 8-)

8:35 AM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Jim said...

Now I've never been accused of that!

Ok- yes I have. And being elitist, and a snob.

But I don't mind.

1:45 PM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Being an elitist isn't all bad. See here

6:50 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger LSNDuck said...

Here in the UK similar connotations are growing around evangelical. Maybe it isn't quite as strong as with you yet, but it is getting that way.

I tend to associate evangelicalism with fundamentalism to some extent, although I try my best to be open minded about individual's beliefs.

Russell

10:19 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Russell,

Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you pointed that out, I was wondering how the term 'evangelical' was seen in other parts of the world. I know that Chris Tilling has told me that the term has not actually been associated with 'fundamentalism' in Germany (yet anyway).

Thanks for the feedback.

3:22 PM, April 06, 2006  

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