Punch-drunk: “stupefied by a series of heavy blows to the head.”
Are you feeling it this morning? Last week, we were cornered in the ring, and the headlines were unrelenting. Are you starting this week a little punch-drunk?
The Iowa Caucus meltdown: political suicide by an untested app. The Impeachment: the political equivalent of the mix between British Cricket and a Mixed Martial Arts to-the-death match. The State of the Union: civility and decorum have moved into the Smithsonian, as relics of an earlier age. The National Prayer Breakfast: with the sound turned off, it resembled a court-ordered, last-ditch couples’ therapy session between two people suing for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.” The Post-Impeachment Show at the White House: like the baptism scene from Godfather; when the heads roll…
With the Election season now in 24/7 – for the next 266 days – the coverage will be incessant. A term is already being tossed around with academic arrogance mixed with biblical ignorance: evangelical. Cited as a voting block or a special interest group by the media hacks, the designation has missional implications that warrant clarification. Who – really – are the Evangelicals?
Evangelicals are not fly-over voters who hibernate between election cycles; they (full disclosure: we) are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who have three defining points of convergence. What are they? And, based on those core convictions, are you one of them (us)?
Vital signs for Evangelicals are crucial to confirm; without them, those tagged with the term are imposters. The test is fairly easy to administer; no special skills are required. Here are the essential minimums:
The Authority of Scripture. Evangelicals believe that the Bible is the Word of God. It doesn’t contain the Word of God; it is the Word of God. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,..” (2 Timothy 3:16). If that’s true, then life begins at conception and abortion is murder; if that’s true, then sanctioned intimacy is within the covenant of marriage between heterosexual adults. Those aren’t political differences; they are truths based on the Word of God and not subject to political debate.
The Necessity of Conversion. Evangelicals believe that, to be a Christian, one must make a conscious determination that they are sinners in need of a Savior, and the decision to enter into a redemptive relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is essential: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Family faith, infant baptism or cultural appropriation are not substitutes for personal conversion. Militant Muslims attack America based on a false assumption that all Americans are Christians; God has different standards for inclusion in the redeemed-by-Jesus community of faith.
The Responsibility of the Great Commission. Evangelicals believe that the Lord Jesus left his followers with an explicit mission to fulfill before his return to earth to establish his Eternal Kingdom: “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20). Based on Barna research in 2018, only 17% of Christians who go to church even know what the Great Commission means. The next question – “knowing the mission, are you pursuing it?” – wasn’t asked. How many “knowers” are “doers?” The issue of one’s Kingdom Calling exposes the role that God intends for each Christian in pursuit of the Great Commission…
Note to the political world and the mainstream press: Evangelicals are not a political faction; we’re a force to oppose and defeat the God of this World while incessantly proselytizing everyone…