“Exvangelicals” -- I’ve come upon this term in reference to a shift within Christianity. It appears that some of the younger generation of Christians no longer want to be associated with the term Evangelical.
In all fairness, I never did use the term “evangelical” to define myself. There’s nothing inherently wrong or bad with the term. However, once you put a label on yourself it does kind of identify you with the whole.
In the same way, I’m not so keen on referring to myself as Messianic or as being part of the Hebrew Roots Movement. I’m not too sure I want to be identified with that comprehensive whole either.
Here’s a quote I got from an article I read about former Evangelicals --
“I don’t identify myself with that term any more,” Boz Tchividjian said recently. He was talking about being “evangelical”, the movement his grandfather, the Rev Billy Graham, helped popularize in America. “Words matter,” Tchividjian said, “and ‘evangelical’ isn’t like Baptist or Episcopalian, which can be clearly defined. The minute you use that term to someone, you’re defined by how they interpret it.
“Tchividjian is among a growing number of religious people and groups in America who have stopped identifying as evangelicals in order to distance themselves from the more extreme elements of Christian society, while remaining true to their principles.
“This fall, the 80-year-old Princeton Evangelical Fellowship dropped “evangelical” from its name. William Boyce, executive secretary of what is now the Princeton Christian Fellowship, explained the move, saying: 'In recent years … we are seeing that more students either do not recognize or they misunderstand the term evangelical.'
"And in a recent interview, Tony Campolo, a pastor and founder of the Red Letter Christians movement, said succinctly what others have also said publicly: “We feel uncomfortable calling ourselves evangelicals any more, because the general public assumes things about us that aren’t true. We are not for capital punishment, we are not pro-war, we don’t hate gays, we’re not anti-feminist.” —
Now, I get what they are saying … to a certain extent. But, I’m concerned.
What concerns me?
It concerns me that there is an increasing shift away from taking a strong stand on Biblical truth and doctrine. And I can’t blame it all on the younger generation either. The slippery slide started with the present (and past) generation of guys standing behind the pulpits.
In my opinion, too much compromise has taken place in order to be more “user friendly.” There seems to be this over concern about not offending or hurting peoples’ personal feelings. But in reality, I wonder if it is more that these ministries need to keep folks coming in order to feed the hungry money gobbling MINISTRY MONSTER.
God’s people always need to be reminded that they are on the entropy path. That’s just how it is. Read the Bible. God’s people seem to be heading downward much more then they are headed upward. We need to keep anchoring ourselves to the faithful of the past so we won’t stray too far from our Biblical moorings of the faith.
That’s why we’re told such things like in Isaiah 51:1-2 - “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” And, for example, that’s also why Kings were told to walk after David their father — even though they may have been many generations removed.
It’s the responsibility of every generation to hearken back to the faithful fathers of our faith. If we don’t, we’re going to be consistently and constantly adrift. We will be vulnerable “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14). And I submit that is what’s happening at this very moment concerning God’s people.
So, let’s try to define ourselves by using Biblical terminology rather than some religious moniker.
Perhaps something like:
“I’ve been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua by the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 6:11).
“I am a new creature/creation in Messiah. Old things are passed away. And not only that but, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
Or … (a personal favorite of mine)
“I am an Hebrew; and I fear Yehovah, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9)
These are bold, substantive, definitive self-descriptive statements that clearly define a true believer in Yeshua, God manifest in the flesh.
Along with everything else I choose not to use to define and describe myself, I guess I’m not an “Exvangelical” either.