The term evangelical is often met with derision in today's world. The label is frequently associated with agendas other than the gospel. Reviewing the beliefs and actions of many who call themselves evangelicals, Reeves writes, “evangelicalism today is not truly or fully evangelical.” (106) Reeves is clear. If someone claims to be evangelical but is not about the gospel, they are not evangelical. (15) Evangelicals act out of biblical conviction, not some political or personal agenda.
Reeves calls Christians to return to the foundational meaning of the term, to be people of the gospel. If that does not happen, he says, evangelicalism will become a washed up cultural relic.
Because use of the term has been so confused lately, Reeves clarifies that evangelicalism means Trinitarian, Scripture-based, Christ-centered, and Spirit-renewed. He explores the writings of theologians from the past to verify this understanding.
I like that, while Reeves emphasizes the truthful and trusty worthy nature of Scripture, he is not a “biblicist.” Being Scripture-based, he argues, does not mean there is no truth except that found in the Bible. The Reformers did not reject insight from outside Scripture. (32) Being an evangelical does not mean despising learning and research. (34)
I also like Reeves clarifying that being evangelical is not just having right doctrine. While evangelicals must take care to orthodoxy (right doctrine), they must also apply that doctrine to have right practice (orthopraxy) with a right heart (orthocardia). (78) Referring to Micah 6:8, evangelicals are people who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. (78)
This book is a great wake up call to those people who call themselves evangelicals yet are not about the Good News of Christ. True evangelicals are gospel people. They are people who believe the gospel, preserve the gospel, and practice the gospel. They are people who love God and their neighbor. Though flawed people, they are becoming more Christlike day by day and desire to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Phil. 1:27)
My rating: 4/5 stars..
Michael Reeves (PhD, King’s College, London) is president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology in Bridgend and Oxford, United Kingdom. He is the author of Delighting in the Trinity; Rejoice and Tremble; and Gospel People.
Crossway, 144 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)
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