Evangelical. What does it mean to be Evangelical? How do Evangelicals view the world, humanity, and salvation through Jesus Christ? Are there “liberal” Evangelicals versus “conservative” Evangelicals? And what’s the difference? So many good questions!
Wrestling with what is means to be Evangelical and how this relates to all one’s relationships and work in the world is a big part of the work of the Candler Evangelical Society (CES). In the United States, there are positive connotations to the “E word,” evangelical.
Ben Gosden is a second-year MDiv Student at Candler and the President of CES. About the CES, Ben writes,
In and through our involvement at Candler we desire to reach out to the community and, hopefully, work to change the skewed view of what being evangelical means. Our view is one of love for ALL people, recognition of all human equality under God, and that salvation through Jesus Christ not only includes us with God in the world to come, but also that we are to work, in and through the Holy Spirit, to establish that world right where we are.
The term “evangelical” is a fairly new invention, considering the 2000 year history of the Christian faith. The term showed up in the middle ages, and only appeared in English in 1531. Given it’s short history, the term has had many definitions and permutations.
Today, Evangelicals are not monolithic, but are multi-faceted. For instance, among other things, the Candler Evangelical Society is committed to challenging the notion that Evangelicals are inactive in the world in terms of works of love and justice. Last week, students from the CES made over 500 sandwiches for the Open Door Community, a Christian ministry to homeless people in Atlanta.
CES has also been active in promoting a panel discussion about people of faith and health care reform that includes professors from Theology, Public Health, and other Emory departments. CES is also set to host Bishop Will Willimon (Candler grad ’73) for a talk in November.
There’s a lot going on at the CES–check out their Facebook Page (search for “Candler Evangelical Society”) and the video below, from their Kickoff Lunch.
So what does “evangelical” mean to you?