Q. What does it mean to you to be an evangelical?
A. I take issue with the word to a certain degree, so I make a distinction between a capital E and a small e. I was in the Caribbean in 2004, watching the election returns with a group of friends, and when Fox News, in a state of delirious joy, announced that evangelicals had helped sway the election, I realized this word has really been hijacked. I find the word troubling, because it has come in America to mean politically to the right, almost, at times, anti-intellectual. For many, the word has nothing to do with a spiritual context.
Q. OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?
A. I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.
Now while one might agree or disagree with Rob's response to the final question, there's something larger going on here that we should not miss.
We live in an age where the term "evangelical" has indeed been corrupted to mean a myriad of things that perhaps were never a part of the original intent. I think a worthy question that needs to be asked is this, What does the term "evangelical" import today in this culture. Is what is often portrayed by the term "evangelical" something Jesus would attach himself to? [Could we "be taking the Lord's name in vain" by attaching the name "evangelical" to what we do?]
So what should the term "evangelical" mean today? Is it a term that still has importance?