In response to Joe’s opening volley regarding what is an evangelical, I would add this:
Ideally, evangelical is more an adjective than it is a name. It’s not so much the evangelical church as it is evangelical churches. In this respect, the content of this week’s sermon by my pastor is of greater concern than what national leaders are saying — a concept the national media often has difficulty grasping. As pervasive as national evangelical voices can be, the local ministry of the gospel (and the personal authority of the Scriptures is about as local as one can get…) has primacy over the universal.
This is not to say that evangelicals are or should be separatists, let alone wagon-circling fundamentalists (now there’s a tricky word!). Evangelicals indeed listen to and learn from each other from afar — this very blog is but one example of many. However, the gospel that evangelicals preach happens not in a vacuum, but is lived in the daily lives of believers young and old. Paul reminds us: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Feet serve us best when on the ground, and that’s where evangelicalism is found most pure.