Over at The Anxious Bench, Thomas Kidd has written this post discussing four groups of people who are commonly—and erroneously—labeled “evangelical.”
- Theological liberals. Often these folks come out of mainline Protestant denominations, but many are now associated with the emergent church movement.
- Reformed/confessionalist Christians (like myself). It might surprise some readers to learn that this group doesn’t really belong under the evangelical umbrella. Technically, it depends on what definition of “evangelical” you follow, but there is some truth here. I’m reminded of what Dr. Anthony Bradley (professor at The King’s College in New York) once said: “I’m a follower of Christ first, then a Presbyterian second, and then an evangelical as a distant third.”
- Advocates of the prosperity gospel. Yep, these guys are definitely outside the pale of evangelical orthodoxy.
- Those for whom American politics and patriotism are the center of Christianity. Americanism, as it is sometimes called, is one of the more insidious heresies in the church today. There is a fine line between legitimate love of one’s country and nationalistic idolatry. For more discussion on this fourth category, I’d highly recommend the book God: The Real Superpower by Nelson Jennings (P&R, 2007).