He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15)
|Luther used the term "evangelische kirche"|
- All Christians who affirm a few key doctrines and practical emphases.
- A set of beliefs, and an attitude which insiders “know” and “feel” when they encounter it.
- The self-ascribed label for a largely American Midwest-based coalition that arose during the Second World War.
- Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity.
- Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus.
- Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority.
- Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts.
|The term is also evident in popular culture, like this anime series|
- The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
- It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
- Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
|Nicolas Zamora led IEMELIF from 1909 to 1914|
|Logo of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches|
If we are to believe these estimates, there must have been more or less 22 million Protestants in the Philippines (around 22% of the total population), provided there were no overlaps in counting souls. Of course, there are reports which portray larger numbers of Filipino evangelicals today. For instance, in the Pew Research Report in 2010, Protestants accounted for 10.7% of the total population (9.98 million). The Joshua Project's latest estimates show that Evangelicals account for 12.2% of the population (12.37 million). However, government statistics show a more conservative count. In 2000, PCEC-affiliated Christians totaled 2,152,786 (2.82%) and NCCP-affiliated Christians did not even figure in the census. However, a rough estimate can be made if five of the ten member churches are accounted (Aglipayans were 1.98%, UCCP 0.55%, CPBC 0.29%, UMC 0.26%, ECO 0.16%). Ten years later, in 2010, PCEC-affiliated Christians totaled 2,469,957 (2.68%) and NCCP-affiliated Christians (including IFI and UCCP) numbered 2,437,734 (2.65%). While it is mentioned that there are churches which choose not to join any of the two councils (3.95 million in 2010 were either unaffiliated or did not report any denomination), these numbers solidify Evangelicalism as the third most populous denomination in the Philippines. However, their numbers (5.33%) are nowhere near the generous estimates mentioned earlier.
|2010 presidential election results|
While there are differences in provenance and membership, the two councils may still have points of similarity. NCCP envisions this life in all its fullness as a just, egalitarian, self-reliant, and sustainable society. PCEC envisions a transformed nation through the discipling of every Filipino for the Lord Jesus Christ. Both visions involve changing society and nation through united efforts. In addition, the perseverance of these councils throughout the years may well exhibit the continuing goal to unite the church, at least in the Philippines. However, what parameter can be used to measure unity? While voting power during elections is not the best measure to define church unity, especially since evangelical churches are not known for endorsing candidates, it may show how strong the churches plant convictions into their members. If all members share the same set of beliefs, would they not go for the same choices? In the 2010 presidential and vice presidential elections, however, there seemed to be no evangelical vote yet. Muslims (48%) and INC members (85%) voted overwhelmingly for a single presidential candidate (Aquino). Combined, they constitute 9% of the voting population. INC members (86%) voted overwhelmingly for a single vice presidential candidate (Roxas). Alone, they constitute 4% of the voting population. Evangelicals? Exit polls accounted a sizeable 10% for all other denominations. If we are to believe government statistics, evangelicals constitute more or less half of these voters. The ten percent did not vote as solidly as the INC, which is known for bloc voting. However, their preferences are clear. 34% of them voted for a single presidential candidate (Estrada), and 44% for a single vice presidential candidate (Binay). Evidently, they sided with an opposition tandem made up of populists than with an opposition tandem made up of elites. Still, not only did they not unite their voting power under a fixed set of candidates, they constituted the highest percentage of voting candidates other than the leading two (Aquino-Roxas and Estrada-Binay. For president, 42% of them voted other candidates, compared to 28% of Roman Catholics and 5% of INC. For vice president, 26% of them voted other candidates, compared to 18% of Roman Catholics and 5% of INC. Despite efforts towards unifying the church, perhaps evangelicals cannot escape their roots. Trans-denominational in nature and born out of division, perhaps evangelicalism attempts to be representative of a broad array of values that it may end up not representing any fixed set of beliefs at all? However, this is not to say derogatory remarks about the movement. It is even a compliment, because evangelicalism shows how Christianity has responded to the global trend towards decentralization and devolution, keeping the church as one in the process. From representative, evangelicals become involved in participatory churches, wherein every member has the capacity to be equipped with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and eventually to equip others (Ephesians 4:11-16). Of course, we are one church, and will always remain as one church because there is only one builder (Matthew 16:18). What remains to be seen is when people begin to act as members of one church. Indeed, the disciple may tend to distort the master's teachings.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.