Sunday, July 06, 2008

[THO] What is an Evangelical?

"Evangelicalism" is not, and never has been, an "-ism" like other Christian isms - for example, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, or even Pentecostalism (where, despite many internal differences, the practice of sign gifts like tongues speaking provides a well-defined boundary). Rather, "evangelicalism" has always been made up of shifting movements, temporary alliances, and the lengthened shadows of individuals. All discussions of evangelicalism, therefore, are always both descriptions of the way things really are as well as efforts within our own minds to provide some order for a multifaceted, complex set of impulses and organizations.
Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, 8.

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