Context: Christianity

Here I will offer several commonly-used definitions of what evangelicalism is.

Evangelical/Theological Definition

The evangelical understanding of evangelicalism is gospel-centred. Thus:

An evangelical is someone who trusts and is transformed by the biblical gospel.

This definition entails the entire corpus of the gospel, viz. God as creator entails his authority over mankind; mankind's rebellion against God, rendering it subject to God's wrath and judgment; the penal substitutionary propitiating work of Jesus Christ; the resurrection of Christ, as vindication of his lordship, and proof of his coming judgment; reprentance, obedience and faith.

Characteristic Definition

For those who are not familiar with evangelicalism, David Bebbington's definition (Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992]) may be a bit more informative.

There are four qualities that have been the special marks of Evangelical religion: conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and what may be called crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Together they form a quadrilateral of priorities that is the basis of Evangelicalism.

E`van*gel"ic*al (?), a.


Contained in, or relating to, the four Gospels; as, the evangelical history.


Belonging to, agreeable or consonant to, or contained in, the gospel, or the truth taught in the New Testament; as, evangelical religion.


Earnest for the truth taught in the gospel; strict in interpreting Christian doctrine; preeminetly orthodox; -- technically applied to that party in the Church of England, and in the Protestant Episcopal Church, which holds the doctrine of "Justification by Faith alone"; the Low Church party. The term is also applied to other religion bodies not regarded as orthodox.

Evangelical Alliance, an alliance for mutual strengthening and common work, comprising Christians of different denominations and countries, organized in Liverpool, England, in 1845. -- Evangelical Church. (a) The Protestant Church in Germany. (b) A church founded by a fusion of Lutherans and Calvinists in Germany in 1817. -- Evangelical Union, a religion sect founded in Scotland in 1843 by the Rev. James Morison; -- called also Morisonians.


© Webster 1913.

E`van*gel"ic*al, n.

One of evangelical principles.


© Webster 1913.

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