What is an Evangelical Christian?

Trying to define the essence of Evangelicalism is not an easy task. It is not a denomination, but rather a multi-denominational movement inside Protestant Christianity that has some core teachings that are constant with the traditional Gospel message, and some teachings that prevent a proper and fuller understanding of other New Testament realities. For example, the idea of Divine Healing. Evangelicals as a rule don’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, and the manifestation Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12.

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 the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.1 Corinthians 12:8-10

Some Evangelical groups do believe in divine healing related to the work of the Holy Spirit through the manifestation gifts of 1 Corinthians 1:12, but most don’t. This leads to the idea that God allows sickness in the lives of His children in order to teach them some spiritual lesson. The idea that our Heavenly Father would send or allow sickness on His children is almost perverse. It demonstrates a colossal misunderstanding of the relationship that born-again children have with their Heavenly Father. It is a failure to understand some of what Jesus did during His earthly ministry and part of what was accomplished at the cross.

Some of the tenants of Evangelicalism include: the born-again experience; following the teachings of Jesus in one’s personal and family life; a high regard for the Bible; people needing to be converted; faith influencing public life; actively sharing the Gospel through missionary work; and social reform work, with some degree of political activism.

Most of those ideas are true biblical values with the exception of social reform and political activism. Christians have been called out of this world, specifically to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. This adherence to the idea of activism within the Evangelical movement is in direct opposition to New Testament teaching on separating from the world.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to speak of those things with are done by them in secret. —Ephesians 5:11-12

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship does righteousness have with  lawlessness? And what communion does light have with darkness? 15 And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. And God has said, “I will walk in them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord, “And do no touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” —2 Corinthians 6:17 



The Uneasy Conscience of a Non-Charismatic Evangelical

Evangelical Beliefs & Practices

Evangelicals deeply confused about core Christian beliefs – Ligonier Ministries

The Biblical Doctrines Many Evangelicals Get Wrong – Lifeway Research

Gregg F. Swift, J.D.