By definition, those who believe in the triune God, the inerrancy of Scripture, and salvation by grace through faith are “evangelical,” and these beliefs are essential for academics to join the Evangelical Theological Society.
“Evangelical” comes from the ancient Greek word for “gospel.” Ev- means good and angel means “message,” so that translators understand that Gospel means “good news” or “good message.” For a believer to be evangelical, then that one must identify with the apostolic gospel. However, for the sake of unity with Christ and His church, every believer should simply exist as a Christian — a follower of Christ. There is more to being a Christian than being an evangelical.
Defining Evangelical Beliefs
Here are the basic defining characteristics of evangelical beliefs:
1) Evangelicals believe in the triune God who is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2) Evangelicals believe in the infallibility of Christ and thus the inerrancy of the Christian Scriptures as Christ’s Spirit revealed to Jesus’s apostles and prophets.
3) Evangelicals believe that salvation is by grace through faith in the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, all other evangelical beliefs are Christocentric and founded upon Jesus Christ and core apostolic beliefs. Because of these central beliefs, evangelical views upon social issues will remain conservative to biblical teaching.
Defining the Meaning of Christian
Christians must share have these core evangelical beliefs, and the world may identify such churches as evangelical. However, salvation is in the name of Christ and no other (Acts 4:12; 10:43). Christians must declared, “I follow Christ” (1 Cor 1:11). Therefore, the churches of Christ remain simply “Christian.” Christians bear the name of Christ.
Disciples of Christ are Christians — faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Luke recorded, “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26b). That name “Christian” traveled north to Caesarea. Luke recorded Agrippa’s response to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am — except for these chains” (Acts 26:28b–29). Peter declared to Christian enduring persecution throughout the nations of Anatolia, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Pet 4:16).
Christians Saved by the Gospel
To be a Christian is to stand and be saved by the gospel of Christ. The Christian has not only confessed that Jesus is Lord and that He rose from the dead (Rom 10:9–10). The Christian has died to sins, been buried with Christ, and God has raised each believer alive in Christ (Rom 6:3–7). Rising from burial with Christ is the moment of being born again and regenerated through the resurrection (1 Pet 1:3; 3:21). God raising the repentant believer to new life is the moment that God saves each believer through faith (Eph 2:4–10). Rising from burial with Christ is the exact moment when the believer is “raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God” and “made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” (Col 2:12–13).
Christians can thank God that evangelicals believe so strongly. All Christians should show love to those who believe. If anyone gives an evangelical scriptures to read, they can step back because the gospel is powerful. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” (Rom 1:16a).