Should We Un-stick The Evangelical Tag?

Mika Edmondson

The Gospel Coalition hosted a thoughtful conversation in December about how Bible-centered Christians should identify themselves. Is the “evangelical” label still appropriate?

All participants were wary. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says he wears the tag if conversants understand its historic definition, which has nothing to do with partisan politics. Mika Edmondson, pastor of Southeast Grand Rapids’ Orthodox Presbyterian New City Fellowship, remains true to his African American heritage. It’s not his default term. Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and assistant professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, played it down the middle as moderator. But he spoke for all when summing it up: Our labels should make clear we’re “Gospel people.”

File this video in the we-live-in-interesting-times folder. Each of these church leaders is a classic evangelical in the historic sense. They’re even conservative Calvinists, veritable poster children for Harold Ockenga and Carl Henry, the two key intellectual leaders of America’s mid-century evangelical resurgence. Questioning the utility of the evangelical label is no longer the exclusive province of Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, and others who’ve stretched the margins left-ward. Even the movement’s standard bearers frown.

The video:


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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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