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CHURCH CORNER: Fundamental Christians lead a Jesus-taught life
“God, give me the courage to be a fundamental Christian!” What? A fundamental Christian? “And God, give me the courage to be an evangelical Christian!” Whoa! Pastor Dan, are you turning political on us? Actually, no I’m not. If there are two words in our modern world that have lost their true meaning, the words are fundamentalist and evangelical. What has been lost is the understanding of what a fundamental Christian and an evangelical Christian truly are.
I suggest that the words themselves, fundamentalist and evangelical, have been used incorrectly by media and by society in general, to mean the opposite of what they really mean. Who do you suppose benefits from that?
The word “fundamental” is more properly defined as something that is primary or essential, not something that is conservative or literalist.
The news is full of stories about “fundamentalist” Christians predicting the world will end on May…no, make that Oct. 21, stories of “fundamentalist” Christians belching words of hate at funerals for our fallen military men and women, “fundamentalist” Christians burning the Qur’an.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say those people are NOT fundamental Christians. Their response is often not Christian at all.
A true fundamental Christian is someone who lives the primary, essential life that Jesus taught us – to love our neighbor, to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, to welcome the foreigner in our land and to stand with the oppressed. That is what God asked of us. That is being a true fundamental Christian. It is not the conservative, particularist, hate-spewing vision of Christianity the media portrays.
God, give me the courage to be the fundamentalist Christian that Jesus was, and is.
The news is often full of stories of “evangelical” Christians preaching a right-wing political message, condemning people who think differently than them, judging or condemning a neighbor who doesn’t fit their vision of how life should be lived, preaching holier-than-thou rhetoric while often living lives more sinful-than-thou.
Their message is political not evangelical.
A true evangelical Christian is someone who lives and shares the good news of Jesus Christ. The word evangelical comes from the biblical Greek euangalion, meaning good news, joyful news, the gospel.
When Jesus stood up in the temple in Luke 4:18-21, he read from the Scroll of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news (the evangel – euangalion – the gospel) to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” THAT is the evangel, the evangelical, to proclaim the good and joyous news of the lord’s favor. The good news of God’s amazing grace and unconditional love for all people. It is not the politically judgmental agenda that the media seems to favor.
God, give me the courage to be the evangelical Christian that Jesus was, and is.
Comments? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dan Wilson, Hope Lutheran Church