God's Transcendence and Immanence In Relation To the Evangelical Theology
Introduction Evangelicals believe in and practice evangelism, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to facilitate conversions to Jesus Christ and to Christianity. They are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, and they do not believe this commission is fulfilled only through programs for social improvement or individual relief. These may be part of evangelism, but evangelism cannot be reduced to them. The goal of evangelism is conversions of people to faith in Jesus Christ.
Evangelical Theology and God's Transcendence and Immanence
The word evangelical comes right from a Greek word for “good news” or “good message.” Gospel comes from an old English word for “God's story” or “the message of God.” Thus, “evangelicals” are people of the gospel- of the good news of God's story or message. Proclaiming the gospel is a hallmark of evangelicals; Evangelicalism is a movement to recover and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many evangelical theologians are concerned that evangelicals get the message right as well as get it out. A favorite saying among them is “If we are to get the gospel out (to the world), we had better get it right.” Surprisingly, however, there are few evangelical theological treatises on the nature of the gospel; many evangelicals assume the content of the gospel arid reflect very little about it. Others—especially fundamentalists—are notorious for over defining the gospel and separating from those who disagree about any element of their interpretation of it. (Olson, 1992)
Generally speaking, however, evangelicals understand the gospel through the lens of Pietism—the Protestant renewal movement that swept through Europe in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and that influenced the revivalists of the Great Awakenings, such as John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards. According to Pietism—which is decidedly Protestant theologically—the gospel is the good news that God accepts into reconciled relationship and imparts new spiritual life to anyone who repents and trusts in Jesus Christ. Persons do not have to earn any part of salvation; it is a free gift given to those who accept it by repenting and believing (trusting) in the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. Implied in this is the full and free salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ in his death on the cross. Furthermore, Pietism affirms, God accepts ...