Evangelical

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Overview

Literally, the term Evangelical refers to a Christian denomination's efforts to recruit new members through the spreading of the "good news" of Jesus Christ. (Greek evangel="bearer of good news or glad tidings".) While all churches are charged with the ministry of evangelism, this term is often used in European religious study as a synonym for Protestant affiliation.

The term Evangelical is often used with a more specific meaning in the American context, however, to refer to members of Conservative Christian denominations which place a special emphasis on evangelism, often through missionary efforts.

In contrast, mainline and liberal religious denominations often pay little more than lip service to the need to seek new converts. For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which engages in very little evangelism domestically, largely gains new members either at birth, because at least one of their parents share the religion, through marriage when one member of the couple is already a member of the religion, or by welcoming into the faith people who show up on their doorstep seeking a change from their existing religion -- such as "lapsed Catholics" who seek similar practice but a less rigid doctrine on social issues by attending an Epsicopal or Lutheran church.

There is an unspoken rule, which most, but not all religious denominations follow, which is that it is acceptable to evangelize among the unchurched, but is rude and frowned upon to evagelize among those who are members of another church already, unless that person comes to the evangelist without prompting.

A Personal Daily Kos User Description of Life in an Evangelical Community

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