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Christianity Johnson on 29 Sep 2008 12:01 am

What is an Evangelical Christian?

This week the “God Squad” newspaper column took up the challenge of defining an “Evangelical Christian”:

‘Evangelical’ tough to define

The reader who posed the question offers the first definition.

Definition of Evangelical Christian #1

– believes and accepts the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus as the Gospel.

– knows that we are not our own, we were bought with a price to glorify God in our body and spirit, and cannot be the servants of men (First Corinthians 6 19-20; 7: 23).

– lives for Christ. I am nothing; realize that we are 6 zeros with Christ before us making us a million, and are willing to die for Him.

– knows that Christ is the Creator (Colossians 1:16; Isaiah 44: 24).

– believes in a triune God — salvation planned by the Father, Implanted by the Son, Empowered by the Holy Ghost.

– speaks in another tongue after we are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13)

– looks forward to walk on the Street of Gold and enter in through the Gates into the City of Heaven (Revelation 21:21; 22:14).

Barna Research Ltd offers an alternative definition:

Definition of Evangelical Christian #2

– Someone who has experienced a personal “born again” feeling of being saved by their Lord Jesus Christ

– somebody who feels that their faith is very important in their life

– somebody who is eager to proselytize others, Jews and other Christians included

– somebody who believes that Satan is a living danger to the life of faith

– somebody who believes the Bible is the literal and inerrant word of God

– somebody who believes that salvation is only possible through faith and not through works

– somebody who believes that Jesus lived a sinless life here on earth

– somebody who believes that God created the world

The God Squad offers its own definition (sort of):

Definition of Evangelical Christian #3

– all Evangelicals are Protestants, but not all Protestants are Evangelicals.

– speaking in tongues is characteristic of Pentecostals only.

– Evangelicals are the most conservative and fundamentalist of Protestant Christians.

– Evangelicals have the most difficulty with interfaith dialogue and are definitely not going to embrace my definition that all religions are like different paths up the same mountain.

The most interesting part of the “God Squad” article is the last sentence: “I know The Boss will sort it all out when the Messiah comes (or comes again). In the meantime, I keep telling them that if being Jewish was good enough for Jesus, it’s definitely good enough for me!” Of course if you believe in “The Boss”, you also believe that he will cast anyone who is incorrect into the eternal torture of Hell after he “sorts it all out”.

Then there is the famous Internet definition of a Christian:

Definition of Evangelical Christian #4

10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.

7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” — including women, children, and trees!

6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations old.

4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects — will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving”.

3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to prove Christianity.

2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 – You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history — but still call yourself a Christian.

Finally, here is the WWGHA definition of a Christian:

Definition of Evangelical Christian #5

1) A Christian believes in prayer even though it is obvious that prayer is a superstition:

2) A Christian believes in the Bible even though it is obvious that the Bible is repulsive:

3) A Christian believes in Jesus even though it is obvious that Jesus is imaginary:

4) A Christian believes in Heaven even though it is obvious that heaven is a fairy tale:

5) A Christian believes in “God’s Plan” even though it is obvious that it is impossible:

6) A Christian believes in God even though it is obvious that God is as mythological as Zeus or Ra:

7) Most importantly, a Christian will look at all of this obvious evidence showing that God/Jesus/Heaven/Prayer is imaginary, then put his/her fingers in his/her ears and shout, “I will not listen to obvious facts! I believe in God because of faith!”

8 Responses to “What is an Evangelical Christian?”

  1. on 29 Sep 2008 at 8:09 pm 1.lil tom said …

    I’m curious to hear some thoughts of other atheists on some of these posts and videos around here. I personally feel that the tone is often very patronizing and being someone who used to believe in some of the mythology in question, have to admit that the tone would have likely strengthened my belief rather than help me out of it.
    a few of the videos seem more about provoking a debate and pushing people’s buttons than actually helping people. I feel that it’s not the best way to get through to people (ie, repeating “you are *delusional* if you believe these things”, over and over can be a bit insulting – even if it is true – and will likely turn people away or just make them angry). anyone else have issues with this? just curious.

  2. on 29 Sep 2008 at 11:11 pm 2.Hermes said …

    There are a variety of ways to get through to people.

    I have some ideas why the makers of the videos and this web site have settled on the specific tone they use.

    The question I have for you is my own;

    What can be done about the bigotry, ignorance, hate, and promotion of illness and death that many Christians advocate but few Christians protest?

    I’ve asked this question to quite a few Christians, most ignore it the question entirely, and the few that respond are the bright lights. They know what I’m talking about, if not exactly, and they say what they are working to correct those problems. They are specific. Unfortunately, not enough Christians are standing up.

    I was told something years ago by someone I worked with; “It’s not our fault, but it is our problem.”

    Believe it or not, it is effective and does address the problems I mentioned. It’s not as effective as we need it to be, though.

  3. on 30 Sep 2008 at 3:17 am 3.SteveK said …

    “What can be done about the bigotry, ignorance, hate, and promotion of illness and death that many Christians advocate but few Christians protest?”

    This is quite a list. I’d be interested in hearing more details so I can comment.

  4. on 30 Sep 2008 at 3:25 am 4.SteveK said …

    I don’t advocate the things on your list, I can say that much. Just wondering if you had something specific in mind.

  5. on 30 Sep 2008 at 8:47 am 5.Hermes said …

    SteveK: “This is quite a list. I’d be interested in hearing more details so I can comment.”

    I’d be glad to … in the forums. This thread is going to be buried in the blog in a few days, and I’d rather put substance to something with a little more permanence.

    I’ve created a new thread here;


    If you are interested in discussing things, post a note there.

  6. on 02 Oct 2008 at 7:54 am 6.Anonymous said …

    How about you read the Bible? You know that every ruler that is listed in the Bible has been historically proven? Why then would there be fake people in there?
    Did you know 40 people wrote all the books in the Bible? How in the world did 40 DIFFERENT people write 1 cohesive book without a single contradiction? I mean.. people couldn’t even do that today and we have the internet!!

    Obvious that he’s not real? Only to those who are blinded! The world proclaims he is God simply be the composition of a single cell!

    Oh, and how do you guess that life began? The big bang? Big bang makes an assertion similar to believing that you could throw 10 tons of multicolored dominoes in a brick basement, toss in a C4 charge and then come back in and find that EVERY dominoe was standing on end, in order and separated by color. It is OBVIOUS that an explosion doesn’t work that way. More likely, such an explosion would result in an absolute mess with tons of obliterated dominoes.

  7. on 03 Oct 2008 at 4:44 am 7.lil tom said …

    anonymous. go back to school. your clearly do not understand the science you speak of. perhaps it would serve you well to read a book or at the very least watch a program about these things before you spout nonsense.
    nobody is asking you to believe in a theory that you don’t wish to. in the real world, the only punishment for ignorance is ignorance itself (and of course the dangerous path that ignorance leads to…). no hellfire. no damnation. just intellectual darkness.

  8. on 30 Jul 2013 at 12:19 am 8.gary said …

    Do you think that it is important to have a specific event that you can point to and say: “THEN, is when God saved me!”?

    We Lutherans do NOT believe that baptism is mandatory for salvation. All the saints in the OT, the thief on the cross, and many martyrs have died without baptism. We believe they are saved and in heaven. It is not the lack of baptism that damns someone to hell…it is the lack of faith/belief that damns one to hell, as Christ states in Mark 16:16.

    Many evangelicals think that Lutherans believe that salvation must come through Baptism. This is flat-out wrong! Baptism is one of several possible “when”s of salvation. It is always the Word of God that saves. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God). A sinner can be saved sitting in church listening to a sermon; listening to a Gospel program on the radio; or reading a Gospel tract. Baptism is NOT mandatory for salvation.

    However, Baptism is God’s mark upon us that he truly has saved us. We belong to him. Unless someone intentionally fakes believing, fakes repenting, and fakes a genuine desire to receive Christ’s “mark” in baptism, the person being Baptized DOES receive Christ’s mark stating: YOU, child, now belong to me.

    In the evangelical conversion, you have two viewpoints, Arminian and Calvinist. The Arminian believes that he is saved when HE makes a decision to have faith and believe/repent. The problem is that when HIS faith is ebbing low, he begins to question the sincerity of his “decision”: “Did I really do ‘it’ right?” Why this worry? He worries because his salvation was partly dependent upon HIM; upon HIS “decision”.

    The Calvinist, on the other hand, believes that he is either born the Elect or he isn’t. There doesn’t need to be any specific time of conversion, as long as at some point in his life, the Calvinist declares to the world his faith and belief—he IS one of the Elect. However, ask many Calvinists when they were saved and they will give you a blank stare and then answer, “Well…my salvation was a ‘process’!”

    Are there any examples in the Bible of ANYONE being saved by a process??

    Receive the mark of Christ, brothers and sisters. In Holy Baptism, God’s marks you as his: “Property of the King of Kings, Almighty Lord of Heaven and Earth”.

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals


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