Evangelicalism’s Core Belief Structure

Robert K. Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, describes Evangelical Christians as those with “a dedication to the gospel that is expressed in a personal faith in Christ as Lord, an understanding of the gospel as defined authoritatively by scripture, and a desire to communicate the gospel both in evangelism and social reform. Evangelicals are those who believe the gospel is to be experienced personally, defined biblically, and communicated passionately” (The Variety of American Evangelicalism).

The three aspects of Evangelicalism’s core belief structure find a priority within historical eras. Here is my outline of Johnston’s definition.

  • HEART: Soteriological aspect – a personal faith in Jesus Christ (16th century Reformation)
  • HANDS: Missional aspect – a vital commitment to Christian mission (17th,  18th, and 19th century Pietism, Methodism, and revivalism)
  • HEAD: Foundational aspect – a belief in the Bible as final authority (20th century American fundamentalism)
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