The true meaning of 'evangelical'
To the editor:
It was a noticeable coincidence that the Oct. 5 issue of the Register & Bee which featured an informative article by Terry Mattingly on the changing definition of the word “evangelical,” also carried a front-page article on Rev. Becky Crites praying for pets. If the Episcopal Church in which Crites serves is considered “evangelical,” then the term discussed by Mattingly certainly has acquired a very different meaning from its definition in the early 20th century, when it stood for historical Protestantism and unconditional commitment to biblical teachings regarding doctrine and conduct. I take time to write this letter, not to be controversial, but because what is at stake here is of eternal importance to all human beings without exception.
Originally, the word “evangelical” was synonymous with the word “Christian,” which in turn was synonymous with “biblical.” According to the Bible itself, there is no possibility of salvation from sin and damnation apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and careful conformity to his commandments and teachings. If a person’s Christianity is not thoroughly exclusive, then it is not Christianity, and by extension, not truly evangelical.
It makes no difference how famous the person may be in Christendom, if he introduces a teaching or practice which is not strictly scriptural, then his Christian profession is flawed, and no Christian should follow his example. The fact that Rev. Crites’ practice of “blessing pets” can be traced to Francis of Assisi does not give a shred of legitimacy to the practice. It has no precedent in holy Scripture and is therefore un-Christian.
Also in violation of clear biblical teaching is Crites’ office as a Christian minister. The Bible strictly forbids a woman to “speak in church” or to teach a mixed audience, though she may teach younger women and children. Rev. Crites’ wearing of jeans is also an infraction of biblical teaching which forbids the woman to “wear that which pertains to a man.”
However, Crites is by no means the only person who discredits her claim of being a Christian by her un-Christian practices. The Roman Catholic institution has lionized Francis notwithstanding his heretical practises, pays lip service to the Bible while, from its beginning, has repudiated almost every cardinal teaching of Scripture and acted as history’s most aggressive enemy of Christ, the Bible and Christianity. The most flagrantly anti-Christian of all its teachings being the office of the pope himself. The Mormon Church also professes to be “Christian” and “evangelical,” while in reality its teaching is a horrible mixture of biblical terminology and rank paganism. Russellism (“Jehovah’s Witnesses”) denies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ while claiming to be “Christian” — an absolute and utter impossibility. Space forbids the listing of other religious groups and individuals who fraudulently carry the name “Christian.”
None of these observations are in any way meant to offend or belittle readers who belong to these various religious groups. They are submitted in sincere Christian love and for the good of the readers. Neither do I write these things out of any sense of superiority at all, but rather because the Lord’s amazing grace and mercy to me has made me a debtor to all my fellow men.
In closing, allow me to urge readers to read the Bible prayerfully for themselves, and they will soon learn the priceless values of our Lord’s words, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)