Did ‘evangelical’ become a bad word?

I love America. I also love Jesus. I feel like I needed to make these two facts known before I went any further into what I am about to write.

I have been struggling lately, as I have watched the nation be pulled apart by politics. Yet, even more disturbing to me, is how Christians have been playing a role in the division.

It seems like everyday, I am hearing of what it means to be an “evangelical,” and it is definitely not what the word originally meant. It has been hijacked by a political party, who in many cases is struggling to live up to the original meaning of the word as well.

You see, evangelical comes from the Greek word, euangelion, which means “good news” or “gospel.” So, when you pull that together, it basically means an evangelical should be a person or group who carries the message of Jesus, declaring that He is the savior of the world.

That is not what we are hearing today. Evangelical has become a term that ignites anger and bitterness. It causes fear and trembling. It has moved people further from the gospel, because what they have seen does not match with what they hear about who Jesus is.

Evangelicalism should never be affiliated with a party. I think, what’s been lost is that you can be a follower of Jesus, and be a Democrat or Republican, or neither.

Evangelical was a term designated for the Church. The Church, who should be carrying a message of hope, joy, love, grace and mercy. A story of the Son of God coming to this earth to bring freedom and redemption to a broken people. A declaration of healing from wounds, and the truth of reconciliation from our separation to our Creator.

Unfortunately, it has become a message of what we are against. Evangelicalism has become a declaration of “Us vs. Them,” as opposed to “Christ vs. Death.” The message being conveyed is, Christians care more about their agendas, rather than the people.

To be honest, when we look at what is being shared, they aren’t wrong. This is sad.

When Jesus preached His sermon on the mountainside, found in Matthew Chapter 5, He told His followers, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Right now, if we really look at the political landscape, we are missing the mark, on both sides.

Those who claim to be on the right, are missing the mark because they have allowed themselves to be more about the politics than the message of Jesus. For those on the left, they have allowed for their anti-right side, to be more important than striving for unity and peace.

As Christians, we are called to be involved in the world. We are called to be active in what is happening. Yet, we are called to be different from the world.

When we can’t see the difference between ourselves and those who don’t know Jesus, we are missing the mark. When we would rather make our side look right, as opposed to making our Savior be glorified, we are failing in our faith.

People are longing for Christians to handle these issues correctly. They are wanting to see people loving each other in their differences. They want to see Christians standing for the good news of Jesus. Not a political agenda, but a Kingdom of God agenda. An agenda that beckons people towards Him, not pushes them away.

People should not fear evangelicals, they should find peace, love, hope and grace. Let’s bring that back.

Bobby Benavides