ADVERTISING
 
Friday, October 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Writing style
1
 

‘E’ or ‘e’ for evangelical?

Any term can become slippery through decades of use (or mis-use) and it is all too easy for a church with the ‘right’ name to have moved from the firm foundation of Scripture.

11 MARCH 2015 11:00 h GMT+1
León, iglesia A church under construction in León (Spain).

What’s in a name?, soliloquised Juliet, as she mused on the political fall-out from her fall-in of love with Romeo. In the end, the name - because of the family to which it belonged - proved too hot to handle, and the two young lovers took their own lives.



European evangelicals (or should that be Evangelicals?) are hardly suffering a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions yet they are asking themselves the same question, and facing somewhat of an identity crisis as a result.



The term ‘evangelical’ comes from the Greek εuαγγeλιον, which means ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’. The classic statement in the Bible that defines this ‘good news’ is found in the Christmas story, in Luke 2, in the words of the angel to the shepherds outside Bethlehem:



‘I bring you good news[1] of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’



We can see that εuαγγeλιον is a noun; the issues arise today when, in English at least, the term is used as an adjective. Any term can become slippery through decades of use (or mis-use) and it is all too easy for a church with the ‘right’ name to have moved from the firm foundation of Scripture.



My own church has the word ‘Evangelical’ in its title, which is intended to convey that we are a Bible-teaching and Bible-believing church. We might be traditional or ‘charismatic’ in our worship style, but we are centred on the Word of God. We are an independent church, so we don’t have any denominational label to add to the word ‘Evangelical’ (a proper noun, in this case). Yet there are, of course, evangelical Christians (and churches) within all the major Protestant denominations. They don’t add the word ‘Evangelical’ to their title, but would show that they are by their churchmanship.



Yet in common parlance in the UK, the term ‘evangelical’ (small ‘e’) is coming to be used as an adjective, meaning something akin to ‘radical’ or ‘passionate’. When applied to Christians by the proverbial bloke in the street it can mean anything from ‘happy clappy’ to ‘slightly unhinged’! However close to the truth that might be (let the reader judge), we at least have opted not to use the term ‘Evangelical’ in our church publicity, but to present ourselves to our community simply as ‘... Church’. On the other hand, Christians looking for a Bible-believing church find the term ‘Evangelical’ helpful in their search.



Elsewhere the term creates different problems. How should one translate Evangelische Kirche from a German context? The words literally mean ‘Evangelical Church’, but by and large represent a liberal tradition today that would be far from even the Lutheran moorings of its infancy. It seems better to translate that as Protestant Church, leaving open the question of their theological emphases.



And so to Spain... where Evangelical Focus has been started. The terms ‘Protestant’ and ‘Evangelical’ are sometimes used almost interchangeably, even though they offer different nuances.



Most Protestant churches in Spain have Iglesia Evangélica on their front walls because the term Protestante retains some negative connotations, whilst the desire of this media project - Evangelical Focus - is that we should be giving exactly what our name suggests: focusing on the wonderfully good news of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.



So, Evangelical or evangelical? The answer is simple: both! If the term at heart means ‘gospel’, which itself is the heartbeat of the Christian faith, then it is worth retaining, whatever confusion the man in the street may have with it. If it is part of a title or grouping of churches, then ‘Evangelical’ seems to fit. If however, it is describing a church’s ecclesiology or a person’s beliefs, then ‘evangelical’ does the job.



------



[1] In fact, the term in Luke 2 is in verbal form in the Greek, but there are 41 occurrences of the noun εuαγγeλιον in the New Testament. 



 



Jonathan Dawson is pastor of a church in England and member of the Evangelical Focus tanslation team. He lived in Spain for 20 years, and also served there as a pastor.



 



 



 


 

 


1
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 

Will Graham
11/03/2015
13:20 h
1
 
Thanks for that. I've always shared your conviction about the German Evangelical Church. Well explained. Blessings.
 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - ‘E’ or ‘e’ for evangelical?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.