Good Faith Classic: What the Heck is an Evangelical? (with David French)
It’s the 75th Good Faith episode and we’re celebrating our “diamond” podcast by running back one of our first episodes. First released in November 2021, this episode is a “classic” (in our minds) because we define terms around several key questions that have recurred on Good Faith: “What is an ‘evangelical?’ Is it a set of religious beliefs, a set of cultural beliefs, or a set of political beliefs? How does evangelicalism compare with fundamentalism?” Is “evangelical” a term worth salvaging for Christians?”
Pew Research Center: “More White Americans adopted than shed evangelical label during Trump presidency, especially his supporters”
National Association of Evangelicals: “What is an Evangelical?” (including the Bebbington Quadrilateral)
Barna: “Survey Explores Who Qualifies As an Evangelical” (including the 9-point Evangelical)
Ryan Burge: “For White Evangelical Republicans, Approval of Trump is About Immigration more than Abortion”
Ryan Burge: “Why ‘Evangelical’ is becoming another word for ‘Republican’”
The French Press: “The American Crisis of Selective Empathy”
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Thank you for replaying this podcast. It has aged like a fine wine. It is of interest to me that Evangelicals in defining themselves have (in the most expansive way) 9 tests of authenticity. YHWH had 10 and Luther 39, so humankind has progressed, no? In my youth growing up in a small town that my father said had “more churches than people” the acid test of fundamentalism (in those days expressed in the self-satisfied inquiry “are you saved?”) was the inerrancy of Scripture, its literal truth. This led to innumerable dialogs of the dumb over trivia. After a long life of struggle with issues of faith and, let the record show, reading the Bible, I have come to the view that it is deeply and profoundly true whatever the details. I think that gets me in under Bebbington and out under Barma but, truth to tell, I don’t think it matters.
Your discussion of empathy is the best I have ever heard. I hope it gets a wide listenership. Could I make a pitch for humility? Warren Buffett has said, discussing investing, that “if you are going to play football without a helmet, you had better be Jim Thorpe.” Your discussion shows that if you are going to bring down the hammer for empathy, you had better be Nathan or Jesus. The rest of us should proceed with love and caution.
Warm regards best wishes and thanks again.
Thanks for the comment, Joseph – I love that Buffet quote!