I’m an evangelical Christian because…

I get a little tired sometimes of evangelical Christianity being identified by what it’s against. “You know, they’re the ones who hate gays, and bomb abortion clinics, and oppose teaching evolution in schools” (For the record, none of those three describes me). I’d rather define ‘evangelical’ by what I’m excited about.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I’m excited about Jesus. To me he really is the light of the world; his life and teaching shine a brilliant light on what God is like and what human life is meant to be like. ‘Like father, like son’; I feel in my gut that if there is a God, God has to be like Jesus. As someone once said, ‘In God there is no unChristlikeness at all’.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I love the story of the Cross: it shows us how God treats his enemies – with love and forgiveness – and so becomes the the way of reconciliation with God for all people. I also love the story of the resurrection, which tells me that love is stronger than death (love wins!), and that God has made Jesus Lord of all.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I’m excited about grace – God’s unconditional love poured out on all people, the good, the bad, and the ugly, not because we deserve it but because God is love. Grace is the hope of the world; if there’s no grace, we have no hope. For me, this is bedrock; because God is graceful, I don’t need to be afraid.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I’m excited about the Bible, in all its mystery and wonder. Evangelical Christianity wants to get back as close as possible to the original story of God’s grace in the life of Jesus and the early church, and we believe that the books of the New Testament are the best window we have into that exciting and foundational time. I love the Bible, even though I often don’t understand it and it regularly infuriates me, because when I take it as a whole and understand it through the lens of the story of Jesus, it is indeed ‘a lamp for my feet and a light to my path’.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I’m excited about evangelism. Jesus continues to make a huge difference in my life, and as I talk to people who are spiritually curious, I love helping them come closer to the light of God in Jesus. And I love the fact that I can relax and enjoy this process, because at the most fundamental level it’s God’s work, not mine.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I’m excited about conversion. I have a conversion story of my own – the time when the light of Jesus first flooded into my life – and I’ve seen other people get converted too. To me, it’s a beautiful miracle, and there’s no thrill like being a part of it in the lives of others.

I’m an evangelical Christian because I love the vibrant community of people who know Christ and want to know him better, and who want to meet to learn more about him and to share his love with each other and the world around them. Small group learning and larger gatherings for worship with these folks are awesome experiences for me!

I’m an evangelical Christian because I love a simple approach to worship. I’m not against a written liturgy (I’m an Anglican, after all!) – in fact, I love the way a written liturgy gathers all the different elements of worship together in a way that all can participate in. But I don’t like it when it’s too wordy and too full of rituals. I don’t like crowded worship services; I love worship services that leave me lots of room to sense the touch of the living God.

I don’t think evangelical Christianity has everything right, and I don’t think there’s nothing we can learn from other Christian traditions. But at the end of the day, this tradition is my spiritual home, not because of what it’s against, but because of what it’s for. I’ve been blessed to be part of it, and it continues to bring great blessing into my life, and for that I’m very grateful.

14 thoughts on “I’m an evangelical Christian because…

  1. Ted Greenaway

    I’m an evangelical Christian because life is so much more comprehensible and peaceful over here and I really wish everyone could come and share in that.

  2. “I don’t like crowded worship services; I love worship services that leave me lots of room to sense the touch of the living God.” Well said Tim!

  3. Arthur Peters-Bai

    Thank you Tim. Never saw the term ‘Evangelical Christian’ in such a positive light

  4. I was thinking that when I wrote it. Doctrinal terms like ‘the supreme authority of scripture’ and ‘justification by faith alone’ tend to put people off and divide the church, which is why I tried to express them in simpler and more inclusive terms. Mind you, some people would probably not recognize me as a ‘real’ evangelical because I’m not on board with inerrancy!

  5. Tracy Erskine

    I’m new to evangelical Anglicanism. I was formed in the RC tradition and never felt truly at home in it. I was a RC religious sister for 8 years and the more I was exposed to the institution, rituals, judgements of the church, the more uncomfortable I felt. I left the religious life and shortly afterwards the RC church. I had always been involved with other Christian churches in my childhood and as an adult. I saw us as one big family. As I sat in a midweek Eucharist at my local parish church I realised this is where I belong and also I was suddenly free to accept my call to ordination, I am currently still on this discernment journey. I have always considered myself Anglo Catholic, but I’ve been invited to Cranmer Hall for a vocations day for evangelical women called to ordination and it has got me thinking and praying…I believe I am an Evangelical Anglican all along, though I, like you Tim, no it doesn’t define me entirely. I love simple, personal prayer and worship and feel at home as much at a Quaker meditation meeting as the Eucharist, I believe in the Divine inspiration of the Bible but also accept its human interpretation and literary composition too. I believe Jesus died once for all because he loves us and this is the biggest way to express his love to give his life for us, to show us the way. And I believe in a personal experience at the heart of any worship and life in Christ, which is as unique and equally valid as there are people who have ever lived, are alive and will live…
    At last I see clearly God’s path for me, I know I feel as much at home ministering in an Anglo Catholic parish as I do in an Evangelical Charismatic one, as I feel in the Church of England there is room for all.

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