Casting Off the Evangelical Label

Maybe it’s just me but at this point in my walk with Christ, I am rethinking labels that I once willingly embraced to separate myself from those of different perspectives. I have, for the most part, considered myself to be a conservative evangelical trying to honor both the Word of God and the God of the Word as much as I can.

But over the last several years, I am beginning to change my mind about the effectiveness of such labels. Why? Well, my beliefs are essentially the same, so heresy is not the order of the day. But what bothers me is that I am troubled by what is being passed off as evangelicalism today when all it appears to be from my lowly vantage point is a narrow remaking of conservative white politicking with an American flag and a cross at least somewhere near it.

There has always been a struggle to define what it means to be evangelical and I think that this is a reflection of the struggle between the right desire of theological orthodoxy and the way “evangelicalism” is played out in culture. With President Bush capturing a strong evangelical block of votes, I personally feel like the term has all but been hijacked by well-meaning believers who want to use the legislature to rejuvenate culture.

But my problem is that there are simply too many conflicts with too many definitions of evangelicalism to even make the label worth my time anymore.

I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, Jesus is the Son of God, the Incarnate One who died for the sins of humanity. Salvation is found in no other but the Lord Jesus Christ. Does holding to these tenets make me “evangelical” or do I also have to be a card carrying member of a particular party?

I do not for one minute buy the same-sex marriage bit or support the ordination of unrepentant, practising homosexual clergy. Yet, I am a minister who also happens to be a woman. Am I no longer considered a “good conservative evangelical” because of that?

I fully believe in all that I stated before this, plus I have serious questions about the Calvinist-Arminian arguments that I have yet to resolve. Am I still “evangelical”?

I love my country but I do not appreciat the revisionism going on in evangelical circles about the founding fathers and their faith. But as an African-American woman, I cringe when I hear Christian historians skip over issues like the slaughter of Native Americans and the enslavement of my people just to convince folks that America was founded on Christian principles. I love Jesus but that does not necessarily mean that I have to swallow everything in the Federalist Papers.

I am finding my way by allowing the Word of God, the LOGOS Himself to be the True Foundation of my life, thought, and ministry. It is more important for me to be found in Christ, living out the Word of Life so that the Holy Spirit can draw the lost to Jesus than for me to rehash my label preferences.

solo Christo 


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