Justin Lee has just posted on his blog on a topic that has been raised here by Kim and others… namely, can traditionalist/evangelical churches and Christians be reached? Can they be educated on LGBT issues? Is change possible? (yes, irony intended!)
Here is the beginning of Justin’s post. Read it and then click through to finish reading his thoughts. Then come back here and post your comments.
“Evangelical” has become a bad word in American society today, and a lot of people don’t even know what it means!
The term refers to Christians who emphasize a personal relationship with Jesus, who believe that eternal salvation comes only through his death and resurrection, and who hold a very “high view” of the Bible as a guide for Christian faith and practice.
The word “evangelical” comes from the Greek for “good news,” and evangelicals strongly believe that the Christian message is good news: God loves us! God’s own Son died for us! Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, God will forgive you for your sins and give you eternal life if you ask! This is the “good news” evangelicals are named for, and it’s what motivates evangelicals to want to “evangelize,” or share the good news with others.
Among Protestants, “evangelical” denominations (such as Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God) are often contrasted with “mainline” denominations (such as United Methodists and Episcopalians). It’s an awkward classification, because it’s not really that simple. There are plenty of people and churches in mainline denominations who might fit the description of evangelicals, and since most of the growth in American Protestantism is in evangelical churches, it’s no longer true that mainline churches are the mainstream.