The definition has evolved over the years.

At face value, the term seems to imply the idea that more people will be saved if the Gospel is preached to more people. This idea is the heart and soul of Arminian theology. If this is the definition, I am definitely Evangelical.

Most online dictionaries and encyclopedias state that Evangelicalism is a movement based on Biblical inerrancy or Sola Scriptura. These same sources state that this belief is rooted in Calvinism. However, Martin Luther was not Calvinist nor is he Calvin's spiritual descendant, though he had similar view to Calvin. Luther stated this idea of scripture alone being the final authority on all matters of doctrine and life that it addresses in the chapter "
On God's Word" in his book "Table Talk." Luther also supported this idea in his reply at The Edict of Worms when he was accused of heresy before the Roman Catholic Church.

Then again, Luther was not the source of this belief. Countless persons throughout history supported the final earthly authority of scripture. Waldenses, Anabaptists, Hussites, Donatists, Justin the Martyr, and Irenaeus are only a handful of those who supported the idea.

This being the case, the final earthly authority of scripture is not solely Calvinist.

Whichever definition is true, I embrace the term "Evangelical" without the taint of Calvinism.

Jeremy Brown 2006

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