Re: Moving to Minneapolis MN

Rob Wahl (
Sun, 06 Apr 1997 20:11:18 -0700

At 09:00 AM 4/4/97 +0000, Petra Tiefel wrote:
>Very interesting is the fact that in the US the definition of
>evangelical is related with pro-death penalty and radical anti
>abortion etc. I would call me an evangelical here in Germany, because
>here it expresses that the faith is bases on the scripture,
>especially on the evangelium of Jesus the Christ. I learned that in the
future >I will be very careful to call me an evangelical in the US.


When I was a child my Father was a missionary sent to Germany. I lived
there most years until I was 12 and have returned for visits since. It's
true that 'evangelish' sounds like 'evangelical' but my understanding is
that those words don't mean the same. Many north American church groups
come from traditions that had their start in renewal and radical movements
in Europe. I'm thinking of the Anabaptists (veiderteufer) for example, and
perhaps the methodists in England. Both represented the radical fringe in
Europe, but became mainstream in North America-- albeit indirectly, the
history is somewhat involved.

Associations of evangelical churches with radical pro-life, and pro-death
penalty and the political right wing I think is an American sociological
phenomenon; those people are members in the evangelical churches and often
assume their views to be universally held, but in fact they are not. A
fierce battle between traditional and modern values has polarized the
population and swept up many church members. A few of us remain moderates,
but moderation is difficult in this climate, so we hear one voice saying
abortion is murder and another voice saying abortion is a right. Anyone
like me who says abortion is wrong but not necessarily murder doesn't win
many friends.

Most of us have a large range of influences and carry with us a hodge
podge of traditions. As a group, though, evangelicals believe that saving
faith finds its expression in a 'personal relationship' with God. We all
share a common view of the church as a believers church, a common view of
scripture as inspired-- without error in what it teaches, and a desire to
bring others to faith in Jesus Christ. We share a large body of music, but
one line from a song that perhaps best captures the evangelical heart says
of God, "he touched me, and now I am no longer the same".