I'll be honest. I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore.
The president of the Evangelical Theological Society, Francis Beckwith (professor at Baylor), has apparently converted (back) to Roman Catholicism, but intends to remain in a member of ETS.
Because I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement, I do not intend to resign as a member of ETS.Jay the Bennett has asked how a Roman Catholic can affirm the following from the ETS doctrinal statement:
(EDIT: But he changed his mind and did resign his 23 year ETS membership.)
"The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory."But I wonder, do the Roman Catholics declare something else to be the "Word of God written"? Though it may have been intended to do so, I don't think this ETS affirmation equates to sola Scriptura.
(from The Cambridge Declaration, also the philosophy of ministry at Providence Church)
"Thesis One: Sola ScripturaI think the ETS bit cited affirms the inerrancy of Scripture, but it does not subordinate councils nor does it deny papal infallibility, etc..
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation."
I can see how this would be in keeping with the fundamental of the faith known as inerrancy, but do Roman Catholics deny inerrancy?
In other words, I don't see this as an exclusively Protestant statement of Scripture.
This, of course, raises the question for me ... "What is an evangelical?" Or, "Can one be an evangelical Roman Catholic?"
If it's an adherence to the "Fundamentals of the Faith" of the fundamentalist movement (i.e., bodily resurrection of Christ, imminent/literal second coming of Christ, inerrancy of Scripture, virgin birth & deity of Christ, and blood/substitionary atonement), then you're likely only going to have the nature of the atonement as the dividing wall between Roman Catholics and Protestants, though these have historically been discussions in the Protestant arena exclusively.
I do find the whole thing interesting as labels seem to mean so much less than they once did, though they're still vehemently used. Forums debate what it means to be "Reformed" and Baptists are wrestling with the nature of the true essense of Baptist identity. Evangelicals have wrestled with open theism.
So much of this we just sort of know intuitively or in our gut, but it's interesting how labels seem so fluid. Rush used to say (and maybe still does), "Words mean things," which is true, but do they mean the same thing to everyone? In communication theory terms, who defines the meaning, the sender or the receiver? Who gets to define the terminology?
We know the winners get to write history and I wonder how this plays in to definitions and establishing boundaries.
What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be orthodox? What does it mean to be a Christian? I'll be honest. I don't think anyone knows what it means anymore.
For if eveyone knows it to be something different, then nobody really knows.
P.S. Apparently Thabiti Anyabwile is feeling me on the question of definitions and asks, "What is an Evangelical?"