24th October 2009
To claim that we are "evangelical" is to use the term as a noun. A name, a label. This sounds exclusive.
By contrast the promotion of the evangelical faith (adjective) is inclusive and much more helpful. We are simply expressing a common understanding of the Christian faith as that faith is found in the Uniting Church Basis of Union.
We are expressing an understanding of Christianity which, as members of the Uniting Church, we believe is consistent with the BASIS OF UNION, the central, guiding document of our Church, the Biblical Witnesses, the Apostolic Gospel, the Trinitarian Faith, the Reformed Doctrines and the Evangelical origins of the three Uniting Churches.
The term evangelical then does not need to be a label that commits us to emotional methods of evangelism or to claims of being more ‘spiritual" than others. In an age of change it simply describes and identifies us with the faith of our fathers, during a time when various minority groups advocate opinions and practices that appear to have moved outside the Faith and Unity of the Christian Church.
Evangelical describes what we believe.
Professor Ian Breward describes the defining elements of evangelical faith.
- The inspiration and authority of Scripture.
- The reality of original sin.
- The need for a substitutionary atonement by Jesus.
- A physical resurrection (bodily).
- A decisive experience of saving grace through the risen Lord and the Holy Spirit. A personal relationship with Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- An emphasis on world wide evangelism.
- A lively expectation of Christ's return.
Prepared by Rev Ted Curnow