EVANGELICALS are lumped together with Fundamentalists in the thinking of our American Post-Modern culture. Historically, evangelicalism and fundamentalism where different words that described the same theological position. In 1947 the concepts became polarized through what was called New Evangelicalism, which was a response to to liberalization that had begun to effect the Fundamentalist Movement.
In saying what defines an Evangelical one would list the same doctrinal points as what defines a Fundamentalist. Evangelicals may be considered the next step in the direction of conservatism from Fundamentalism. There are five doctrinal points that describe Evangelicals:
THE INSPIRATION and authority of the Bible as the Word of God. The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice to the exclusion of dogma and tradition.
SALVATION is defined as a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
THE HISTORIC DOCTRINES of the Christian faith with primary emphasis on those that are essential to salvation.
SALVATION THROUGH GRACE through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Good works no matter how pious or well intended are not sufficient for salvation. People cannot rely on any sacramental experience to bring them into a right relationship with God.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS. All believers have direct access to God without the mediation of priests or saints. Believers have the right to read and understand the Bible for themselves without the approval of the church.