Allow me to pick out one common thread among the various posts today on this topic: Dr. Moore isn’t much interested in whether he’s actually an evangelical or not, pointing out that its meaning is largely contextualized. Frank Turk grants that some people need the label for sociological purposes, but doesn’t much have an interest in it otherwise and would prefer Proclaimers instead.
All well and good, and I largely agree with most of the substance of their points. But here’s my defense for why we should care: isn’t “evangelical” largely a term that the rest of the world uses to identify us, and don’t all our theological distinctions get lost amidst that? I don’t think I’m on board with the Jesus P.R. movement, but I’ll grant them this: the label matters because, like it or not, it makes people think certain things when they meet me. If it’s not a part of my self-identity, isn’t it a part of my identity in relation to the world? And don’t the sociological aspects of the definition matter as a result?
I’m not sure where I’m headed here, but it seems we potentially leave aside the sociological element of evangelical to our own detriment by allowing it to shape perceptions of us in particular ways (which the unChristian folks made worse, unfortunately).