We continue to look at different ideas expressed in Jeffery Sheler’s book Believers
As popular as the giant seeker churches have become in the evangelical world fewer than 15 per cent of all evangelical church goers attend them.pg. 122
What we will look at today is the term evangelical in comparison to other terms used to identify someone as a believer in Jesus. We feel that because there are so many terms dividing up the Christian world that confusion has set in and too many people consider themselves Christian simply because they hold to a certain label. We have too many denominations that use the word ‘confirmation’ to tell their members that they are now part of the family of God and we have other denominations that use the terms conservative, evangelical, fundamental and similar terms to say the same thing to their members.
Sadly for them, the Bible does not carve up the Christian pie in such detailed formats. The Bible merely speaks of those who are believers, false teachers or not. Jesus said to Nicodemus that one had to be born again or they would not see heaven. This means that processes like confirmation may be leading people to the wrong conclusion about their spiritual status. It also means that those who use the term evangelical could be lead to draw the same false conclusion. Same for the term Christian as that word is applied to so many who bring a different gospel than the one Jesus and his disciples brought.
Too many cults try to disguise themselves as true believers by adopting and using the term Christian, which then brings confusion not only upon unbelievers but the true church people as well.Getting the definition of who is a true believer of God or not is very important. The definition helps us to identify who is of God and who is not, it also helps us to see who is striving to be a true believer and in need of good instruction. We prefer the term believes God or believer as that term says so much about the person and where they stand in their faith. The term evangelical does not quite present the correct picture as the beliefs of many actual evangelicals are compromised with their adoption of secular ideology– PC, Woman pastors, etc
Nor do we really like the term Fundamental although that presents a better picture of the faith of the holder of that label than the term evangelical. But grabbing a label and presenting it to the world is not the best way to describe one’ faith. In the ancient world, the believers were first called Christian by OTHERS for the people who named them observed their living habit and other behavior and saw that they were like Christ and they labeled the members of the early church in that fashion. the early church did not name themselves that way.
Believers today should be focused on getting scriptures correct and living like Christ, following his teachings correctly then be labeled by those who observe their lives They should not be labeling themselves especially when their lives, words and other behavior contradict the evangelical, fundamental or Christian label they apply to themselves.It is the lives of the believer in Jesus that counts NOT the label they give to themselves. Labels mean nothing when the lives behind the label are opposite to the meaning of the term.
What this all means is that from the pastor on down to the lowest church member all those who claim to follow Christ as their Lord and Savior should actually be following Christ and following his commands and instructions We will insert the word ‘all’ there before commands and instructions as so many people who call themselves Christian only follow the Great Commission and ignore everything else Jesus said. In the past few weeks, we have attended several different Christian churches and not one gave solid teaching. They all spoke on doing the Great Commission. Something is missing in the church when they do not do all the things Jesus said to do and as they worry about numbers, their membership shrinks. Growth will come when the followers of Jesus do church correctly and live like Christ.
Forget the labels and go for the truth so you can be labeled by others correctly and have those labels correctly define your faith. We need to end the confusion and set ourselves apart from all those who falsely use the terms Christian, evangelical, or fundamental, etc..The world needs to see a difference in our lives not a difference in how we call ourselves.