Scot McKnight wrote over at Jesus Creed about as clear and concise a definition of Evangelicalism as I have ever found.
Evangelicalism is a sub-movement in the Protestant church defined by a emphasis on four core beliefs:
- 1. – The centrality of the Bible as the ultimate word of God,
- 2. – The centrality of the atoning death of Christ.
- 3. – The centrality of the need for personal conversion to those two principles
- 4. – The centrality of an active mission to convert others and to do good works in society.
I might add a few points that I have noticed.
Evangelicalism is often characterized by not only a centrality of the Bible, but a belief that the Bible is inerrant and should be accepted in a literal manner. This literalness creates an orthodox version of Christianity that is strict in the doctrinal interpretations of Biblical truths and in practice. However unlike Catholics or other hierarchical religions, Evangelicals don’t have a central authority defining what those doctrinal truths actually are.