1. A theological position, one recognizing not only the need for such a personal experience with God but also the unique religious authority of Scripture and an obligation to share one's faith with others. Billy Graham is the paradigmatic evangelical.

2. A cross-denominational movement with briefs in the authority of the Bible, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement, the centrality of the conversion or the "born again" experience. Includes denominations such as Seventh-day Adventists, Churches of Christ, Presbyterian Church of America, pentecostals and others. Many evangelicals believe in biblical inerrancy.

Its meaning has shifted throughout Christianity's long history and changes depending on who you ask.
The religious historian George Marsden once quipped that in the 1950s and 1960s an evangelical Christian was "anyone who likes Billy Graham." But when Billy Graham was asked to define the term in the late 1980s, he replied, "Actually, that's a question I'd like to ask somebody too."
Graham isn’t alone. While the word evangelical pops up in American media to describe everything from mega-churches to voting blocs, few people seem to know what an evangelical is exactly. Those who claim to know often disagree.
Source: What Does Evangelical Mean? - The Atlantic

The term brings up the image of evangelists, Preachers of tent revivals for, healing crusades, and church rallies e.g. Oral Roberts, radio, e.g. Dwight L. Moody and television e.g. Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Jimmy and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, ...

Demographics:

  • Half (49%) of evangelical Protestant adults reside in the South, which is home to 37% of the overall U.S. adult population.
  • Three-quarters (76%) of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are white, but the share of evangelicals who are not white is growing.
  • 21% of evangelical Protestants (21%) are college graduates compared to 35% in the general population.
Source: Following Rev. Billy Graham's death, 5 facts about U.S. evangelical Protestants | Pew Research Center

Source: Evangelical Protestantism is largest Christian tradition in U.S. | Pew Research Center

Pentecostalism
A stricter form of evangelicalism. Pentecostalism adheres to the inerrancy of the Bible and the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism in the Holy Spirit that enables a Christian to live a Spirit-filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing—two other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism.

Links:
Following Rev. Billy Graham's death, 5 facts about U.S. evangelical Protestants | Pew Research Center
What Does Evangelical Mean? - The Atlantic
Strange Bedfellows
Worldliness Or Godliness? - Chicago Tribune

last updated 2 Oct 2019