What is Evangelicalism? (Transferred)

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What is Evangelicalism? (Transferred)

Postby Derek Potter » Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:35 pm



George Jelliss wrote:This will probably be my last post here, since I resigned a few days ago, though I find I can still log in. The immediate reason for my resigning is the way this thread has been hijacked by those of theological bent to discuss the meaning of "evangelical". I intended the thread to be a constructive one concerning the use of new media to further the cause of combatting creationism. However, my use of the term "evangelical" in my first post has been taken as an excuse to blow the discussion off course.

I am an atheist of the Dawkins persuasion, and am just as much against theistic evolution as against young-earth creationism. Due to the editorial policies of BCSE I feel that too much space is given to the discussion of theological niceties that are of no interest to me whatsoever, and of little practical value in countering creationism. I will continue to be working against creationism but on a wider front than the narrow remit of BCSE.

George is quite right to object to the thread being hijacked. I asked a couple of days ago for the issues to be discussed in our relgious section of this forum.

However, for what it is worth, there is a very good reason for making sure we all are clear about evangelism is. It's a matter of research for our wiki. We need a good working and precise understanding of what it means.


I absolutely agree. The BCSE is supposed to be religiously neutral. If it does not understand the nature of creationism it will lose the support of non-creationist theists when it attacks all and sundry with "friendly fire".

I've been looking at the web site of the National Center for Science in the USA and found that one definition there, that appears to be widely accepted in the USA, is that an evangelist is defined as someone who:

1. Holds to a literal interpretation of the bible.
2. Is a born again Christian.
3. Has tried to convert someone else to Christianity.

(i.e. they are all three.)

That does not seem right to me at all - not even in an American context.
Actually it's the sort of definition that a not-very-bright evangelical pastor might use for his youth group!

I'm not aware of any pressing reason not to take the word to mean exactly what its root suggests: people who believe in spreading the ev-angelion, the good-message.

I've seen other definitions from the USA which distinguish evangelicals as a seperate group from fundamentalists in that they are much more open to reaching out to other denominations and tend to follow the Billy Graham route. That definition also indicated that evengelicals, so defined, were much more likely to be uneasy about religious involvement in politics.

That would be my experience. Most would believe that spreading the message is more important than messing with temporal politics, though it by no means follows universally.

As for the taxonomy, it's a matter of taste. Until recently I thought that charismatics (the neo-pentecostals) were evangelical and that you could be a fundamentalist without being a literalist. That's the trouble when people adopt what were meant to be purely descriptive terms as labels for a group of people. How many in the Labour Party are manual workers?
.
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Postby George Jelliss » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:31 pm

Ok, I'm back, but just to answer a couple of questions addressed to me.

As to the meaning of "evangelise". I've known even secularists talk about evangelising or proselytising in the sense of "spreading the word" of their particular belief.

When I refer to "Evangelicals" I mean those I've encountered in Leicester, i.e. those who attend the meetings organised by AiG, or organised for AiG by the local Evangelical churches. They take a publication called the Evangelical Times. The May 2005 issue, circulated at a creationist conference held here that year contained a four-page "Mount St Helens supplement" which is pure young-earth creationism. All those I've encountered, including Christadelphians, Pentecostals and others are creationists, literal believers in Adam and Eve, Noah and his Ark and so on (though they may not be out-and-out fully paid up anti-evolutionary creationists like the members of AiG, just unthinking believers).

Paul Henderson asks about my view of Kenneth Miller. I am of course grateful for his efforts in the Dover trial and for providing an evolutionary evaluation of the ID claims about the bacterial flagellum, etc. I am also grateful to him for showing other Christians that it is possible (within their philosophical framework) to accept evolution and at the same time to retain their religious beliefs in some form, without going down the young-earth creationism path.

However I do not respect his account of how he is able to reconcile his religion with his science and rational philosophy. He used to have a link on his home page that led to an extract from the concluding section of his book on "Darwin's God", but it seems to have been replaced by something about Brown University, so I can't quote it exactly. What he said roughly was that 'God is Love' and things like that, and yet his God is also Creator of the universe. This is not coherent philosophy that I can respect. The same comments apply to Francis Collins. Polkinghorne's views are totally baffling to me.

I would like to see mainstream christians, i.e. the Church of England, come out much more forcefully behind evolution. So far they have been mealy mouthed about it. I am not at all convinced that they really, at heart, think it is true, and wish it would go away, so that they could go back to their old story of Adam and Eve, which was so much simpler. The websites of many of the evangelical churches have detailed pages about creationism. The CofE and Methodists etc, don't have any similar pages enthusing about evolution. That's because they are not enthusiastic about it. They fear, and know, that their members won't like it and will go off to the creationist churches.

Paul Henderson seems to think that I "had a bad experience with Ham in Leicester". On the contrary, I enjoyed the chance to talk to him; though he did most of the talking, as you can imagine. I dubbed him "Prophet of Ignorance" and (as the photograph taken at the time indicates) had trouble trying not to laugh when he had himself photographed holding the poster in front of him. I also spoke to several of his followers. They are all very well versed in the AiG propaganda, even their children.

Paul Henderson also raises the old argument that questions of the existence of God are "philosophical issues, not scientific ones". Sorry, I don't accept this demarkation. There is no evidence for a God of any sort and I see no reason to entertain the hypothesis until such time as evidence is forthcoming.

I hope this makes my position clear.
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Postby Derek Potter » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:45 pm

George Jelliss wrote:There is no evidence for a God of any sort.

Liar.
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What is Evangelicalism? (Transferred)

Postby John Germain » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:53 pm

Fuckwit.

John Germain

Jersey
British Channel Islands

-----Original Message-----
From: Derek(UsefulIdiot)Potter [mailto:derek@spot-on-solutions.co.uk]
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 10:46 PM
To: scripture@bcseweb.org.uk
Subject: [BCSE Scripture] Re: What is Evangelicalism? (Transferred)



George Jelliss wrote:
There is no evidence for a God of any sort.

Liar.
.
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What is Evangelicalism? (Transferred)

Postby Jaf » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:23 pm

On Fri, 16 Mar 2007 17:45:35 -0500, you wrote:


George Jelliss wrote:
There is no evidence for a God of any sort.

Liar.
.
Show us.
--
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http://www.avaaz.org/en/climate_action_germany/av.php
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Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:06 am

Children, children, calm down.
I'm locking this thread.
Brian
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