According to a recent Ellison poll , the word “evangelical” is being tossed around by journalists, marketers, and politicians like it has just been invented. According to Americans, when it comes to the word “evangelical”, they have no idea what it means.
Here’s a snipet of the article:
“The study asked Americans to define in their own words just what an “evangelical Christian” actually is. For starters, 36% of all Americans say they have no idea at all what an evangelical Christian is. They could not even hazard a guess as to what defines an evangelical.
The most common perception is that evangelicals are Christians who place a special emphasis on spreading their faith to other people. Sometimes this is phrased in a negative light (the word “proselytizing” comes up frequently), and sometimes in a neutral or positive light (e.g. “spreading their faith,” “telling others about Jesus,” or “evangelizing others”).
No other response category accounts for even one out of every ten answers. Nine percent say evangelicals are just a specific type of Christian, such as a non-denominational Christian, a born-again Christian, or a Protestant Christian. Another 9% believe evangelicals are Christians who are particularly zealous or devoted to their faith. “
I know a lot of people who throw the word evangelical out there like it’s a four letter cuss word, and I believe it is done so because of a misunderstanding or ignorance of the term evangelize. So here’s a little vocabulary lesson for those who are perplexed with the term “evangelical”.