What is an Evangelical Christian?

Just for the record, I am not an Evangelical Christian. I am a Charismatic, pro-Pentecostal supporter, Full-Gospel believer who believes in the manifestation gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. Traditional Evangelicalism in this regard, which most Christians seem to profess to be, does not believe in those gifts of the Spirit. Evangelicalism, as a rule, follows the concept of cessationism. Essentially, this means traditional Evangelicals believe that the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 ended with the death of the last Apostle.

Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 You know that you were Gentiles, led astray to voiceless idols, as you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different effects, but it is the same God who works in all. 7 To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. 8 For to one is given, by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracle, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But each of these things works by the same Spirit, dividing to every man individually as He will. —1 Corinthians 12:1-11

With all the hybrid distinctions in Christianity today, it is difficult to find a category that clearly identify one’s personal beliefs beyond that of accepting Jesus, that is assuming that you are even looking to do so. The links at the end of this article, two of which are by two popular Christian research groups, discuss in detail the crossing over of beliefs that have muddied the waters and created an environment in which subjective interpretation of Christian values has been allowed to influence the Church today.

Many of those values of are based on, “What I think,” or, “What I believe,” as opposed to what the Bible actually says.  As most Christians don’t even share a biblical world view; biblical Christian values have become hybridized. What is accepted today in Christian circles would not have been some years ago, and certainly not in the Early Church. So, to be clear, I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12 which traditional Evangelicalism does not. There is a famous quote from Billy Graham, which I will paraphrase, in which he was asked by a reporter for the definition of an Evangelical. Mr. Graham replied and said, “that is a question I would like to ask someone as well.”

If you are serious about understanding what it means to be an Evangelical Christian, as distinguished from a Charismatic, Pentecostal or Full-Gospel Christian; below are links to interesting MUST READ articles on the subject.

Are You An Evangelical? Are You Sure?

Evangelical Beliefs and Practices by Pew Research Center

Survey Explores Who Qualifies as an Evangelical – Barna Research

Gregg F. Swift, J.D.