Attacked by Fundamentalist Pirates, Evangelical Baptists Refused to Abandon Ship

If I had to sum up a complicated and important week at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in one sentence, it would be this: In a series of contentious confrontations, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has confirmed that it is ( for now) more evangelical than fundamentalist. . And this result is good news for the church and the nation.

To explain what I mean, let me back up for a moment and define my terms. Understanding what “evangelical” really means is important, and it requires going back to pre-poll Christianity.

How have exit polls corrupted our definitions? When most Americans think of the term “evangelical,” they don’t think so much of a set of theological assumptions, but rather of the subgroup of Americans who answer “yes” to a poll exit question, an exit question very imprecise. Survey question. For example, here it is, in 2020:

The problems with the question are obvious. Immediately you lose all sense of the racial diversity of American evangelicalism. Black and Hispanic evangelicals are lost in “all others,” and they are far more politically diverse than white evangelicals. Additionally, the question deals with the huge differences within “evangelical” and “born again” Christianity itself.

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Barry F. Howard