The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Understanding Evangelical Christianity

I have some questions about Evangelical Christianity in order to gain some more understanding

  1. Is Evangelical Christianity a single or uniform movement?
  2. Is the distinction between Evangelical and Mainline Protestant actually feasible?
  3. Are there any particular binding doctrines or practices that tie all evangelicals together but differentiates them from other Christians?
  4. What is the connection to Evangelical Christianity and Fundamentalism, or are they even related?
  5. What role do personal intuition, Metaphysics, experience and Church history have in relation to the authority of the Scriptures?
  6. Are Baptists considered Evangelical? Considering this is a very broad set of denominations.
  7. How do the doctrines of Universal Salvation, Christus Victor, Panentheism, existential hunger* and Natural Law square in Evangelical circles

*This is the argument from desire formulated from C.S. Lewis, in seeing the human longing for union with God.

Have you searched the archives? A number of these things have been covered extensively. Just a thought…

What archives are you referring to? this forum?

Now were you thinking that I was speaking specifically about Evangelical Christianity from an Universalist perspective? Because I was referring to what is commonly considered Evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity as I was questioning is in reference to the newer Protestant Churches, or as a distinguishing from Mainline Protestants. I will admit that I am a bit skeptical about Evangelical Christianity, and probably have many negative stereotypes due to what I have seen on television, read on the internet, or see in the news. But I think it would be like judging the whole Catholic Church based on the child abuse scandals.

Yessir. I’m not trying to dissuade you from asking the questions, just thought you might like to see what has been said before and maybe you could add to those threads, or continue with this one. Up to you. Lots of big questions in that list. :smiley:

I’ve observed that the definition of ‘Evangelical’ is rather…fluid. For instance, this forum has laid out its own approximation of what Evangelical means; and you can find other definitions here and there. I know the term has its uses, but there is nothing definitive about it other than what we choose to endow it with. And I think this is the best way to gauge oneself:

I find that it is part of human nature to stereotype and overgeneralize what it has limited knowledge of. Like in the west, its popular to see Africa as a single culture, simply because we are very unfamiliar with the different cultures, and the major representations we get are centered on the wildlife.

But I find in myself the tendency to stereotype the whole Evangelical movement based on a few bad eggs. Like I am part of the Catholic Church, but I find that there are many catholics who have fundamentalist tendencies.

Yeah I agree.
What stupefies me is the sheer number of Protestant denominations, each one putting out its little differences and those differences are walls. And it’s not like you can ask someone even: are you a Christian? Because if they say ‘yes’ - what did they say ‘yes’ TO, actually? Do you believe in Jesus? Yes. Which one?
Like that. Nothing new here, I was just astounded to read how MANY denominations there are.

The Calvinist site Got Questions, has the following Q and A:

What is an Evangelical Christian?

Well, according to the definition in paragraph 1…this would NOT only cover the major Protestant denominations, non-denominational, Bible and community churches…But Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy - as well.

Here is an example of what is NOT - IMHO - Evangelical Christianity;


The reason this forum got its name is simply that it was inspired by the very popular book (written by Robin Parry under the pen name, Gregory MacDonald), “The Evangelical Universalist.” I don’t know why Robin chose this name. He may explain in the book but it’s been a few years since I read it last (for the 2nd time), and if he did, I don’t remember. I think (again, whether because of his book or not I don’t remember) that it was probably to differentiate his understanding of universalism from that of Unitarian Universalists–which is significantly different. Robin’s universalism doesn’t do away with the need for Christ and the atonement. Unitarianism (to the best of my understanding) suggests there are many paths to God and it doesn’t much matter which one you take.

Robin asserts that it does matter and that mainline Christianity (this would include in context–I believe–Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc., but probably not Unitarian or Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses–or other more fringe groups that self-identify as Christian) has the gist of a correct understanding of the gospel. Granted, the understanding of the more mainline Christian groups varies–still, they have things in common which Robin (and the founders of this forum) feel are important. He used to come around here from time to time, but doesn’t much these days. If you want to know more, get his book at Amazon (or the retailer of your choice.) If it matters to you, Robin seems to me to be quite liberal–more than I’m comfortable with in fact, and I’m no “Fundamentalist.” Nevertheless, his books are excellent, so I’ll have to overlook his unrelated leanings. :wink:

From your last response, I gather that this is perhaps the reason you’re asking. If I’m mistaken, please forgive me.


Well, to qualify that a bit - Christian Monotheists or scriptural Unitarians believe much the same as you yourself do, or as Robin does as far as I can tell - less the over-emphasis on creedal formulae concerning a trinity.

No Unitarian I know thinks that salvation is anything other than how the bible teaches it.

Please continue with your earlier programming… :smiley:

Sorry for leaving that out, Dave. I’m guessing Christian Monotheists are people who don’t believe the Trinity (even though as a Trinitarian myself, I also consider myself a monotheist), but I didn’t know there was a special name or that there was a group of ‘scriptural unitarians.’ I’m sure I wouldn’t object to either but I know (or hope it’s so) that you non-trins know you’re welcome here. As you know, pretty much anyone (especially you lot!) who can keep a civil tongue is welcome to discuss their views on-forum.

That said, this forum was (I’m told, 'cause I wasn’t here) set up specifically to share with mainline Christians who might otherwise feel that universalism can’t mesh with their traditional views (which of course, it can). That’s just the target audience, and NO ONE should assume from that original intent that they don’t belong here, because we LOVE one another, and that’s what matters!

No apology necessary, just wanted to clarify things. :smiley:

Robin Parry’s definitions of “evangelical universalism” and an “evangelical universalist” are given in the following article in which he explains at length why being both evangelical and universalist is not an oxymoron & why being a biblical universalist can be harmonious with being evangelical:

"Before I make my case, it is important that we have a clear view of what I mean by ‘evangelical’ universalism. I would suggest that ‘evangelical’ universalists are, along with mainstream evangelicals, believers who affirm orthodox Christian faith, have a high view of Scripture, and share the distinctive cluster of theological emphases typical of evangelicalism. What marks them out as ‘evangelical’ universalists are two more unusual beliefs:

EU1: ‘In the end, God will reconcile all people to himself through Christ’s atoning work.’
EU2: ‘EU1 is a biblical belief.’ " … Oxymoron

No Unitarian I know thinks that salvation is anything other than how the bible teaches it.

and what about a Contrarian or Vegetarian??? :question:

I saw an article today, from the Patheos Evangelical newsletter. It might have relevance here.

Why Jen Hatmaker Apparently Thinks I’m Going to Hell

If this is all too confusing, then request some Miracle Spring Water. :slight_smile:

I was offered a prayer cloth that had been sewn into the top of a revival tent, so that as the revival went on the prayers would rise and soak into the cloth. I believe it was an AA Allen revival. With that cloth of course anything was possible.

When I say I was ‘offered’ - it was offered to anyone who could fork over a given (i.e., a large) amount of dinero.

Is the distinction between Evangelical and Mainline Protestant actually feasible?

My understanding is that Evangelical simply means bible believing folks and Mainline Protestant is simply another institutional group that follows the guidelines of it’s leaders with little critical thinking.