I’d like to talk about a word that is tossed around in political media without much real understanding. When used politically, this word is taken out of context to describe a so-called group of people who are assumed to be in lockstep with their politics.
That word is “evangelical,” and it has nothing to do with politics. It is a theological word that means “the good news” of Jesus the Christ as described in the first four books of the New Testament in the Christian Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
I’m irritated when I hear the word watered down in political talk. Why is the “good news” of Jesus the Christ being linked to politics? This to me is politically incorrect. Is there not a definitive separation of church and state in America? We don’t have state churches dictating for whom we should vote.
I belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the most progressive denomination of Lutherans. We ordain men and women, gay and straight, to pastor our churches. We believe in inclusivity, in unity within diversity. We cherish every human being as loved by God without any superiority, inferiority, or labeling.
We seek to feed the hungry, house the homeless, aid the sick, welcome refugees, and inform those seeking a loving God. Why do we do these acts and more? Simply because our motivation comes from the “good news” of Jesus the Christ. These are the very acts Jesus did, and we are compelled to do likewise.
My concern is that the word “evangelical” when used politically may give the idea that all “evangelicals” are of the same political bent. It is not only politically incorrect, it also, and more importantly, weakens the strength of the real meaning of that word.
Retired Pastor Naomi Barcanic
Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church