Why Not Evangelical?

About every so often, we hear of an incident through which the pronouncement goes forth from some one in a representative capacity for some denomination, that the Christian Science church is not evangelical. The most recent instance is one in the South, where a conference of laymen was to be held in a certain city, "a series of great inspirational meetings . . . under the auspices of the various denominational mission boards of the United States and Canada." The newspaper from which we quote says, "All the evangelical churches of the city are interested, and are cooperating in preparations for the conference." We are informed that at the preliminary meeting in preparation for the conference, those in charge decided that the Christian Science, the Universalist, and the Primitive Baptist churches should be excluded, because they were not evangelical. In commenting on this action, we can of course speak only for the Christian Scientists, and we speak of it not because of its importance, but because it brings to attention one of the many proofs that Christian Science is misunderstood and misrepresented by those who should know better.

Webster's definition of the word evangelical is as follows: "1. Contained in, or relating to, the four gospels; as, the evangelical history. 2. Belonging to, agreeable or consonant to, or contained in, the gospel, or the truth taught in the New Testament; as, evangelical religion. 3. Earnest for the truth taught in the gospel; strict in interpreting Christian doctrine; preeminently orthodox." In other dictionaries we find definitions essentially the same.

Of the word orthodox Webster naively says, "The term orthodox differs in its use among the various Christian communions," and as there is said to be about one hundred and fifty different Christian communions, we must refrain from that part of the definition of evangelical which hinges upon this word, for it would be impossible for any one body of Christian believers to comply with all the one hundred and fifty standards of orthodoxy which human beliefs have set up.

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Truth, Selective and Saving
January 10, 1914

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