Why the focus on Evangelical Christians?

Last revised: January 24, 2015

This website is for Christians of an Evangelical persuasion.

Why just Evangelicals?
What do you mean by Evangelical?

Most of us don’t use the term “Evangelical,” nor do may many of us feel a part of the “Evangelical” conversation. However, our churches, fellowships, and circles, the books and resources available to us, the missionaries who reached out to us are mostly Evangelical in persuasion.

This website is thus open to any Asian American group (Asian American as defined by the US Census) of Evangelical Christian persuasion. We write pointedly to this audience, as we are part of this audience ourselves. We commit to seek out underrepresented voices among us, to understand and fairly represent them to the best of our ability, time and resources. We commit also to understand more our own selves, to be ongoing learners.

Asian American Evangelicals are a group of immense diversity—consisting of subgroups that have yet to meet, some who do not get along, and some perhaps were historically enemies. ASIANAMERICANCHRISTIAN.ORG is committed to seeking Christ first, seeking each group out, and seeing each individual and group through the lens of Christ.

Please do not misunderstand:

  • We recognize that many non-Evangelicals are also Christian, and we have much to learn from them. As the late John Stott noted, “not all evangelical essentials are evangelical distinctives.”*** Non-evangelical Christians already largely think about culture, ethnicity and race in terms of their faith.
  • We very much want also to talk with non-Evangelicals, non-Asians, non-Americans. We have much to learn from people different from us.
  • We know most of us just call ourselves Christian. Many lay people do not know that they are “Evangelical” in thinking. Many do not like being called “Evangelical.”  

This website is for Evangelical Christians in America of Asian descent.

 

Why just Evangelicals?

  • So we can attempt to sort things out.  We are only beginning to talk about these things in depth.
      • Evangelical theology does not think these topics are relevant, and thus are not covered in seminaries.  
        While evangelism encourages connecting our faith to our experience (and culture and history), Evangelical theology’s focus on universal propositions discounts these very things that make us unique and different. (See Amos Yong*)  These topics, however, are Biblical—just ask any evangelist or missionary.
      • Outside the area of missions, our churches rarely speak about culture, ethnicity and race—let alone connect it Christ. 
        This includes multi-ethnic and second generation churches.  Our seminaries despite fledgling programs, do not know how to discuss this. Privately though, we talk about culture, ethnicity and race all the time.
      • These are deeply personal topics of which we are not always conscious.  
        To ask us to talk about such things in an informed, self-aware and fair manner is a daunting task for anyone, scholars included.
  • So we can focus on our understanding of Christ as God’s son, as our personal Savior and Redeemer, of his work on the Cross.
      • Being overly diverse in language, class, education, ethnicity etc, Christ really is the only thing that holds us together.  Christ, our shared King, focuses and guides our conversation.
            • Christ makes it safe to have honest and very personal conversations because what matters most is what he thinks of us.  He loves us and gave his life for us.
            • Christ motivates us to have difficult conversations by calling us to love our neighbor and to be one.
            • Christ makes deeper conversations possible by calling us to put God first, he focuses and guides our conversation. Through his Spirit, he joins the conversation with us as a witness, an advocate, a mediator, a wooer and more.
  • So we can be potentially united ourselves.
      • There is no umbrella group of Asian American Christians.
        Arguably, there is not a “we.”
      • We need to know who we are, and the variety of things we think, before we engage with others.
        Until then, we have very little to offer to a multi-ethnic Evangelical conversation, let alone a cross-religious, cross-ethnic, international dialogue (though those dialogues have much to contribute to us).

What do you mean by Evangelical?

We mean that you are “Evangelical” in Christian thinking.

ASIANAMERICANCHRISTIAN.ORG’s primary audience are Asian Americans who embody these four characteristics, who are focused on Christ.

 

. . .

*Amos Yong says this in a ISAAC/Fuller Seminary talk given in 2011.  See also: “Asian American Historicity: The Problem and Promise of Evangelical Theology,” SANACS Journal [Society of Asian North American Christian Studies Journal] 4” (2012-2013): 29-48.

**David Bebbington is a scholar of British Evangelicalism, but nevertheless, most American Evngelicals use his four criteria of what he calls biblicism, crucicentrism, activism and conversionism—-from Evangelical historian Mark Noll, to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), to Wheaton College’s Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals.

***John Stott, Evangelical Truth: A Personal Plea for Unity, Integrity and Faithfulness. Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 1999, 11.

 

 


Revisions since June 7, 2013: March 25, 2014, Sept 20, 2014