Religion Past and Present

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(354 words)

[German Version]

In its broadest sense, evangelical means “according or pertaining to the gospel.” Beyond that meaning, by the Middle Ages it had already been used in criticism of the church to describe a way of life thought to be particularly close to the teaching of the gospel. This meaning was preserved in the expression evangelical counsels (Counsels of perfection). In the Reformation period, evangelical was used to characterize the teaching of the Reformers, implying that this teaching, unlike that of the (Roman) church, was taken directly from the gos…

Cite this page
de Wall, Heinrich, “Evangelical”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 25 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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