While negative aspects of evangelicalism emerge quite easily due to its diverse expressions, sometimes we are left with an image less than flattering and under the impression that evangelicalism is about to give up the ghost. The reality, however, is quite different. By “evangelical,” I include churches who affirm the authority of Scriptures and a belief in the classic Christian doctrines of the Creeds. In addition to my 26 weaknesses post, here are 26 strengths of the evangelical church:
a) It has a zeal for propagation. However opposed one may be to certain methods of evangelicalism, the evangelical church continues to thrive in our day and grow numerically.
b) It preserves ol’ time religion. It has no interest in following progressive agendas for the church but in preserving the free offer of the Gospel as articulated in the Scriptures.
c) It strongly opposes sexual visions that contradict God’s view of sexuality.
d) It promotes male leadership in the Church.
e) It is antagonistic towards Roman Catholic paradigms which elevate hierarchy and tradition above biblical authority and which adds unbiblical rituals to the church (see Philip Jenkins’ “The Next Christendom”).
f) It preaches about the blood of Jesus frequently.
g) It is not afraid to confront scientism and liberalism.
h) It produced one of the greatest evangelists in the history of Christendom, namely, Billy Graham, whose crusades drew thousands, if not millions of people to Christ.
i) It has a high view of the Spirit’s work in the life of the saint.
j) It produced one of the most prolific hymn writers in Christian history, namely, Fanny Crosby, whose hymns still bear witness to the life of Jesus and ministers to millions in church and is remembered and sung by the aged in nursing homes with greater frequency than any other hymn-writer.
k) It was bold to break from liberal mainline churches when many were encouraging them to stay (PCA in 1973).
l) It defends vehemently the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
m) It upholds classic Christian moral issues such as the dignity of life from conception to death.
n) It is driven by a vision of preservation or conservation of the Judeo-Christian heritage.
o) It cherishes personal piety and a life of devotion.
p) It encourages a personal relationship with Jesus.
q) The modern evangelical movement has also produced capable biblical expositors.
r) It has popularized classic Reformed doctrines like the sovereignty of God and his glory (see John Piper’s works).
s) It has, by and large, preserved a historical understanding of the creation account.
t) Seminaries like Southern (SBTS) are producing well-trained scholars as observed in the most recent ETS where there were 50 presentations from Southern faculty and student body. Truly astounding. Also, kudos to Jim Hamilton’s excellent scholarship. I am a fan.
u) Pertaining to Southern Baptists, they drink an enormous amount of sweet tea and hide their beer remarkably well from guests.
v) Evangelicals treasure experience. Perhaps they overemphasize this dimension while some underemphasize the existential perspective (to quote John Frame).
w) Evangelicals believe in the power of prayer to change things.
x) Evangelical preaching is story-oriented; narratival; intended to keep your attention, while much preaching in our day is overly technical and unrelatable.
y) To be evangelical is to be the people of Christ; a people given over to the Evangel in its pure and unadulterated form.
z) In sum, the strength of evangelicalism is its disposition towards truth.