Jump directly to the Content

What Is An Evangelical?

Coming to terms with terms isn't easy.

I have always loved words. One of my favorite early memories is of my dad reading to us at bedtime. One of those books—Alice in Wonderland—had a scene about words that delighted and puzzled me.

Alice ran into Humpty Dumpty, who had an attitude and an unusual verbal style. He used the word glory, for instance, to mean "there's a nice knock-down argument for you." Alice objected, "Glory does not mean a nice knock-down argument."

"When I use a word," Humpty said in a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty, "which is to be master—that's all." He explained that he always paid a word extra when he made it do a lot of work.

One of the words I think about a fair amount these days is evangelical. I grew up in a Swedish pietistic evangelical ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

November
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
A Letter to American Christians
A Letter to American Christians
A powerful message from Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the Magazine
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
As a child, I hid God’s Word in my heart. Now it sneaks out when I least expect it.
Editor's Pick
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
Ten Percent Won’t Work for Everyone
The New Testament suggests that different Christians should give different portions of their income to the Lord.
close