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“The habit of calling ‘Evangelical’ everything which was from time to time characteristic of that church or which any strong party in that church wished to make characteristic of it—has ended in robbing the term of all meaning.

Along a somewhat different pathway we have arrived at the same state of affairs in America. Does anybody in the world know what ‘Evangelical’ means, in our current religious speech?

The other day, a professedly evangelical pastor, serving a church which is certainly committed by its formularies to an evangelical confession, having occasion to report in one of our newspapers on a religious meeting composed practically entirely of Unitarians and Jews, remarked with enthusiasm upon the deeply evangelical character of its spirit and utterances.

But we need not stop with ‘Evangelical.’ Take an even greater word. Does the word ‘Christianity’ any longer bear a definite meaning? Men are debating on all sides of us what Christianity really is…

We hear of Christianity without dogma, Christianity without miracle, Christianity without Christ. Since, however, Christianity is a historical religion, an undogmatic Christianity would be an absurdity; since it is through and through a supernatural religion, a non-miraculous Christianity would be a contradiction; since it is Christianity, a Christ-less Christianity would be—well, let us say’ lamely (but with a lameness which has perhaps its own emphasis), a misnomer.

People set upon calling unchristian things Christian are simply washing all meaning out of the name. If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything, designates nothing.”

~ Benjamin Breckinridge (B. B.) Warfield (1851-1921)
taken from: The Princeton Theological Review, Volume 14, pg. 199.

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