I almost distanced myself from the label years ago, but I’m glad I stayed.
I readily understand recent concern about the label “evangelical” and why some people are uncomfortable with it, given some of its cultural associations. In fact, a few decades ago, I was ready to distance myself from the movement myself.
My problem with evangelicalism wasn’t theological. My theological beliefs were solidly evangelical. It was evangelical subculture—not evangelical faith—that I was feeling increasingly alienated from. I decided that some ethical issues were black and white—and that most white evangelicals were on the wrong side of that color line. I knew too many evangelicals who seemed oblivious to the needs of the homeless, abused women, and racial injustices. I saw firsthand that some local communities were residentially segregated, with those in power allocating disproportionate resources to their own parts of the community.
A Theological Education
Let me rewind the story a couple years. After the most devastating experience of my life, some African American Christians gave me refuge. I was surprised to discover that their church didn’t know about resources that I took for granted, such as Young Life, InterVarsity, or Christianity Today.
But I was also surprised to discover there some resources that I hadn’t experienced before. These churches had centuries of experience in dealing with pain, and they helped put me back together. Grace wasn’t just a theological concept; it was a gift they celebrated and depended on.
Although the title “evangelical” is alien to most of the black church, its beliefs and practices, such as preaching the new birth, reading Scripture, and praying faithfully, reflect the best theological and spiritual heritage of …
Source: Christianity Today Most Read