The word “evangelical,” from evangel, (Greek: eu + angelion), and the first word in ELCA, is often translated: “Good News,” “Good Message,” “Glad Tidings,” and so on. The English word Gospel, from “god” which meant “good,” and “spell” which meant “saying/news/word, etc.” (i.e. our modern word “spelling,”) is often properly used to translate the original Greek euangelion.
The contemporary English word “angel” (like, Hark the Herald…) comes from the Greek angelos, meaning “messenger.” The prefix “eu” simply means “good,” as in eulogy (the good word), and Eucharist (the great thanksgiving).
As a Lutheran and as a Protestant Christian, the word “evangelical” takes on special meaning as it is the word self-assigned to the Lutherans at the onset of the Reformation (Evangelische Kirche), as opposed to the pejorative “Lutheran,” as assigned by Luther’s opponents.
That is as a protestant, and as an heir to the Reformation, I believe there is still “Good News,” “Gospel,” “Glad Tidings,” and so-forth to be found not just at the heart and core of my religious denomination and scriptures (though I believe it certainly is there), but also in the very act of Reform and Protest itself—within and outside my particular tradition.
To be continued…