BY JOHN FEA
In his book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, Randall Balmer suggests that one way to distinguish an evangelical from someone who is not an evangelical is by the way they pronounce the word "evangelical." Balmer writes:
Although the rule is not universal, people who call themselves "evangelical" generally pronounce the word with a short "e" (the first two syllables rhyme with "leaven"), while people who are not evangelicals use a long "e" (ee-van-gel-i-cal).
Religion watchers, sociologists, and political pollsters have tried to identify evangelicals in all kinds of ways. What distinguishes them from other Christians? Is it their theology? Is it a born-again experience? Is it church attendance or denominational (or non-denominational) affiliation? While all of these are good means of thinking about how to define an evangelical, I want to offer a more Balmeresque suggestion, one that I came up with today while leaving the parking lot of an evangelical church. Here it is:
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS USUALLY BRING THEIR BIBLES TO CHURCH, WHILE NON-EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS USUALLY DO NOT
What do you think? Am I on to something here?