Where did the “evangel” in “evangelical” go?

I try to avoid posts that aren’t focused on the arts and imagination.

But we’re living in a world where an “evangelical” leader calls our President a “dream President” for evangelicals.

So if I’m going to retain any capacity to respect the term “evangelical,” which my childhood burned like a tattoo on my history from early childhood, I need to insist, once again, on the importance of the “evangel” in the word.

That is to say, “the good news.”

Rather than explaining this in my own words, let me turn to the holy Scriptures, which read like a protest against anything this “dream President” believes, proposes, or Tweets.

Breaking news from James 1:

If you put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you have become a role model in all things religious, but you can’t control your mouth, then think again. Your mouth exposes your heart, and your religion is useless.

Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.

Had enough? Sound like the worst-possible way to make your culture great again?

Just wait. There’s more:

Orphans 1885 Thomas Benjamin Kennington 1856-1916 Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894

My brothers and sisters, I know you’ve heard this before, but stop playing favorites! Do not try to blend the genuine faith of our glorious Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, with your silly pretentiousness.

If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice—offer him a seat up front, next to you. If you tell the wealthy man, “Come sit by me; there’s plenty of room,” but tell the vagrant, “Oh, these seats are saved. Go over there,” then you’ll be judging God’s children out of evil motives.

My dear brothers and sisters, listen:

God has picked the poor of this world to become unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom, which He has pledged to those who love Him.

By favoring the rich, you have mocked the poor.

And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the rich who step on you while climbing the ladder of success?

And isn’t it the rich who take advantage of you and drag you into court?

Aren’t they the ones mocking the noble name of our God, the One calling us?

Need I remind Jerry Falwell Jr. that the very first book in the Bible spotlights God Almighty saying this?

I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.

[Translation: The Voice]

Previous post

Looking Closer at Wonder Woman

Next post

My Box of 64: Ep. 4 – The Summer of Nathans

No Comment

Leave a Reply

Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet

Novelist and critic Jeffrey Overstreet teaches writing (Seattle Pacific University) and film studies (Northwest University and Houston Baptist University). He's written a memoir of moviegoing and faith (Through a Screen Darkly, Baker, 2007) and a fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors (The Auralia Thread, Random House, 2007-11). He's worked since 2001 as a film critic and columnist at Christianity Today, and he's been a regular contributor to Image, Paste, and Christ & Pop Culture. His writing has been recognized by The New Yorker and The Seattle Times. He regularly speaks at universities, conferences, and churches in the U.S. and abroad. Want to invite him to teach or speak? Email