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Evangelicalism, Evangelical Christianity, or Evangelical Protestantism[a] is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity, maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement.
Evangelicals are Christians who believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, believe in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity and have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.
It gained great momentum in the 18th and 19th centuries with the emergence of Methodism and the Great Awakenings in the British Isles and North America. The origins of Evangelicalism are usually traced back to the English Methodist movement, Nicolaus Zinzendorf, the Moravian Church, Lutheran pietism, Presbyterianism and Puritanism. Among leaders and major figures of the Evangelical Protestant movement were John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, Harold John Ockenga, John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
There are an estimated 285,480,000 Evangelicals, corresponding to 13.1% of the Christian population and 4.1% of the total world population. The Americas, Africa and Asia are home to the majority of Evangelicals. The United States has the largest concentration of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism is gaining popularity both in and outside the English-speaking world, especially in Latin America and the developing world.
- 1 Usage
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Diversity
- 4 History
- 5 Global statistics
- 6 Africa
- 7 Latin America
- 8 Asia
- 9 United Kingdom
- 10 United States
- 11 See also
- 12 Footnotes
- 13 Notes
- 14 Bibliography
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
The word evangelical has its etymological roots in the Greek word for "gospel" or "good news": ε’υαγγέλιον (evangelion), from eu- "good" and angelion "message". By the English Middle Ages the term had expanded semantically to include not only the message, but also the New Testament which contained the message, as well as more specifically the Gospels which portray the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The first published use of evangelical in English came in 1531 when William Tyndale wrote "He exhorteth them to proceed constantly in the evangelical truth." One year later Sir Thomas More produced the earliest recorded use in reference to a theological distinction when he spoke of "Tyndale [and] his evangelical brother Barns".
During the Reformation, Protestant theologians embraced the label as referring to "gospel truth". Martin Luther referred to the evangelische Kirche ("evangelical church) to distinguish Protestants from Catholics in the Roman Catholic Church. Into the 21st century, evangelical has continued in used as a synonym for (mainline) Protestant in continental Europe. This usage is reflected in the names of Protestant denominations such as the Evangelical Church in Germany (a union of Lutheran and Reformed churches) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In the English-speaking world, evangelical became a common label used to describe the series of revival movements that occurred in Britain and North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Christian historian David Bebbington writes that, "Although 'evangelical', with a lower-case initial, is occasionally used to mean 'of the gospel', the term 'Evangelical', with a capital letter, is applied to any aspect of the movement beginning in the 1730s." The term may also occur outside any religious context to characterize a generic missionary, reforming, or redeeming impulse or purpose. For example, the Times Literary Supplement refers to "the rise and fall of evangelical fervor within the Socialist movement".
One influential definition of Evangelicalism has been proposed by historian David Bebbington. Bebbington notes four distinctive aspects of Evangelical faith: conversionism, biblicism, crucicentrism, and activism, noting, "Together they form a quadrilateral of priorities that is the basis of Evangelicalism."
Conversionism, or belief in the necessity of being "born again", has been a constant theme of Evangelicalism since its beginnings. To Evangelicals, the central message of the gospel is justification by faith in Christ and repentance, or turning away, from sin. Conversion differentiates the Christian from the non-Christian, and the change in life it leads to is marked by both a rejection of sin and a corresponding personal holiness of life. A conversion experience can be emotional, including grief and sorrow for sin followed by great relief at receiving forgiveness. The stress on conversion is further differentiated from other forms of Protestantism by the belief that an assurance of salvation will accompany conversion. Among Evangelicals, individuals have testified to both sudden and gradual conversions.
Biblicism is defined as having a reverence for the Bible and a high regard for biblical authority. All Evangelicals believe in biblical inspiration, though they disagree over how this inspiration should be defined. Many Evangelicals believe in biblical inerrancy, while other Evangelicals believe in biblical infallibility.
Crucicentrism refers to the attention that Evangelicals give to the Atonement, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that offers forgiveness of sins and new life. This is understood most commonly in terms of a substitutionary atonement, in which Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by taking on himself the guilt and punishment for sin.
Activism describes the tendency towards active expression and sharing of the gospel in diverse ways that include preaching and social action. This aspect of Evangelicalism continues to be seen today in the proliferation of Evangelical voluntary religious groups and parachurch organizations.
|Reformation era movements|
|Transdenominational and other movements|
As a trans-denominational movement, Evangelicalism occurs in nearly every Protestant denomination and tradition. The Reformed, Baptist, Wesleyan, and Pentecostal traditions have all had strong influence within modern Evangelicalism. Evangelicals are also represented within the Anabaptist, Anglican and Lutheran traditions.
The early 20th century saw the decline of Evangelical influence within mainline Protestantism and the development of Christian fundamentalism as a distinct religious movement. The second half of the century witnessed the development of a new mainstream Evangelical consensus that sought to be more inclusive and more culturally relevant than fundamentalism, while maintaining conservative Protestant teaching. According to professor of world Christianity Brian Stanley, this new postwar consensus is termed "Neo-Evangelicalism", the "New Evangelicalism", or simply "Evangelicalism" in the United States, while in the United Kingdom and in other English-speaking countries it is commonly termed conservative Evangelicalism. Over the years, less conservative Evangelicals have challenged this mainstream consensus to varying degrees, and such movements have been described by a variety of labels, such as progressive, open, post-conservative, and post-evangelical.
Fundamentalism regards biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth of Jesus, penal substitutionary atonement, the literal resurrection of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ as fundamental Christian doctrines. Fundamentalism arose among Evangelicals in the 1920s to combat modernist or liberal theology in Mainline Protestant churches. Failing to reform the Mainline churches, fundamentalists separated from them and established their own churches, refusing to participate in ecumenical organizations such as the National Council of Churches. They also made separatism (rigid separation from non-fundamentalist churches and culture) a true test of faith. According to historian George Marsden, most fundamentalists are Baptists and dispensationalist.
Mainstream Evangelicalism is historically divided between two main orientations: confessionalism and revivalism. These two streams have been critical of each other. Confessional Evangelicals have been suspicious of unguarded religious experience, while revivalist Evangelicals have been critical of overly intellectual teaching that (they suspect) stifles vibrant spirituality. In an effort to broaden their appeal, many contemporary Evangelical congregations intentionally avoid identifying with any single form of Evangelicalism. These "generic Evangelicals" are usually theologically and socially conservative, but their churches often present themselves as nondenominational within the broader Evangelical movement.
In the words of Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, confessional Evangelicalism refers to "that movement of Christian believers who seek a constant convictional continuity with the theological formulas of the Protestant Reformation". While approving of the Evangelical distinctives proposed by Bebbington, confessional Evangelicals believe that authentic Evangelicalism requires more concrete definition in order to protect the movement from theological liberalism and from heresy. This protection, according to confessional Evangelicals, is found in subscription to the ecumenical creeds and to the Reformation-era confessions of faith (such as the confessions of the Reformed churches). Confessional Evangelicals are represented by conservative Presbyterian churches, certain Baptist churches that emphasize historic Baptist confessions like the Second London Confession, Anglicans who emphasize the Thirty-Nine Articles (such as in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia), and confessional Lutherans who identify with the Evangelical movement.
The emphasis on historic Protestant orthodoxy among confessional Evangelicals stands in direct contrast to an anti-creedal outlook that has exerted its own influence on Evangelicalism, particularly among churches heavily influenced by revivalism and by pietism. Revivalist Evangelicals are represented by some quarters of Methodism, the Wesleyan Holiness churches, the Pentecostal/charismatic churches, some Anabaptist churches, and some Baptists and Presbyterians. Revivalist Evangelicals tend to place greater emphasis on religious experience than their confessional counterparts.
Evangelicals dissatisfied with the movement's conservative mainstream have been variously described as progressive Evangelicals, post-conservative Evangelicals, Open Evangelicals and Post-evangelicals. Progressive Evangelicals, also known as the Evangelical left, share theological or social views with other progressive Christians, while also identifying with Evangelicalism. Progressive Evangelicals commonly advocate for women's equality, pacifism and social justice.
As described by Baptist theologian Roger E. Olson, post-conservative Evangelicalism is a theological school of thought that adheres to the four marks of Evangelicalism, while being less rigid and more inclusive of other Christians. According to Olson, post-conservatives believe that doctrine and propositional truth is secondary to spiritual experience shaped by Scripture. Post-conservative Evangelicals seek greater dialogue with other Christian traditions and support the development of a multicultural Evangelical theology that incorporates the voices of women, racial minorities, and Christians in the developing world. Some post-conservative Evangelicals also support Open Theism and the possibility of near universal salvation.
The term "Open Evangelical" refers to a particular Christian school of thought or churchmanship, primarily in the United Kingdom (especially in the Church of England). Open Evangelicals describe their position as combining a traditional Evangelical emphasis on the nature of scriptural authority, the teaching of the ecumenical creeds and other traditional doctrinal teachings, with an approach towards culture and other theological points-of-view which tends to be more inclusive than that taken by other Evangelicals. Some Open Evangelicals aim to take a middle position between conservative and charismatic Evangelicals, while others would combine conservative theological emphases with more liberal social positions.
British author Dave Tomlinson coined the phrase "post-evangelical" to describe a movement comprising various trends of dissatisfaction among Evangelicals. Others use the term with comparable intent, often to distinguish Evangelicals in the so-called emerging church movement from post-evangelicals and anti-Evangelicals. Tomlinson argues that "linguistically, the distinction [between evangelical and post-evangelical] resembles the one that sociologists make between the modern and postmodern eras".
Evangelicalism did not take recognizable form until the 18th century, first in Britain and its North American colonies. Nevertheless, there were earlier developments within the larger Protestant world that preceded and influenced the later evangelical revivals. According to religion scholar, social activist, and politician Randall Balmer, Evangelicalism resulted "from the confluence of Pietism, Presbyterianism, and the vestiges of Puritanism. Evangelicalism picked up the peculiar characteristics from each strain – warmhearted spirituality from the Pietists (for instance), doctrinal precisionism from the Presbyterians, and individualistic introspection from the Puritans". Historian Mark Noll adds to this list High Church Anglicanism, which contributed to Evangelicalism a legacy of "rigorous spirituality and innovative organization".
During the 17th century, Pietism emerged in Europe as a movement for the revival of piety and devotion within the Lutheran church. As a protest against "cold orthodoxy" or an overly formal and rational Christianity, Pietists advocated for an experiential religion that stressed high moral standards for both clergy and lay people. The movement included both Christians who remained in the liturgical, state churches as well as separatist groups who rejected the use of baptismal fonts, altars, pulpits, and confessionals. As Pietism spread, the movement's ideals and aspirations influenced and were absorbed into early Evangelicalism.
The Presbyterian heritage not only gave Evangelicalism a commitment to Protestant orthodoxy but also contributed a revival tradition that stretched back to the 1620s in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Central to this tradition was the communion season, which normally occurred in the summer months. For Presbyterians, celebrations of Holy Communion were infrequent but popular events preceded by several Sundays of preparatory preaching and accompanied with preaching, singing, and prayers.
Puritanism combined Calvinism with teaching that conversion was a prerequisite for church membership and a stress on the study of Scripture by lay people. It took root in New England, where the Congregational church was an established religion. The Half-Way Covenant of 1662 allowed parents who had not testified to a conversion experience to have their children baptized, while reserving Holy Communion for converted church members alone. By the 18th century, Puritanism was in decline and many ministers were alarmed at the loss of religious piety. This concern over declining religious commitment led many people to support evangelical revival.
High Church Anglicanism also exerted influence on early Evangelicalism. High Churchmen were distinguished by their desire to adhere to primitive Christianity. This desire included imitating the faith and ascetic practices of early Christians as well as regularly partaking of Holy Communion. High Churchmen were also enthusiastic organizers of voluntary religious societies. Two of the most prominent were the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which distributed Bibles and other literature and built schools, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was created to facilitate missionary work in British colonies. Samuel and Susanna Wesley, the parents of John and Charles Wesley, were both devoted advocates of High Churchmanship.
In the 1730s, Evangelicalism emerged as a distinct phenomenon out of religious revivals that began in Britain and New England. While religious revivals had occurred within Protestant churches in the past, the evangelical revivals that marked the 18th century were more intense and radical. Evangelical revivalism imbued ordinary men and women with a confidence and enthusiasm for sharing the gospel and converting others outside of the control of established churches, a key discontinuity with the Protestantism of the previous era.
It was developments in the doctrine of assurance that differentiated Evangelicalism from what went before. Bebbington says, "The dynamism of the Evangelical movement was possible only because its adherents were assured in their faith." He goes on:
Whereas the Puritans had held that assurance is rare, late and the fruit of struggle in the experience of believers, the Evangelicals believed it to be general, normally given at conversion and the result of simple acceptance of the gift of God. The consequence of the altered form of the doctrine was a metamorphosis in the nature of popular Protestantism. There was a change in patterns of piety, affecting devotional and practical life in all its departments. The shift, in fact, was responsible for creating in Evangelicalism a new movement and not merely a variation on themes heard since the Reformation."
The first local revival occurred in Northampton, Massachusetts, under the leadership of Congregationalist minister Jonathan Edwards. In the fall of 1734, Edwards preached a sermon series on "Justification By Faith Alone", and the community's response was extraordinary. Signs of religious commitment among the laity increased, especially among the town's young people. The revival ultimately spread to 25 communities in western Massachusetts and central Connecticut until it began to wane by the spring of 1735. Edwards was heavily influenced by Pietism, so much so that one historian has stressed his "American Pietism."  One practice clearly copied from European Pietists was the use of small groups divided by age and gender, which met in private homes to conserve and promote the fruits of revival.
At the same time, students at Yale University (at that time Yale College) in New Haven, Connecticut, were also experiencing revival. Among them was Aaron Burr, who would become a prominent Presbyterian minister and future president of Princeton University. In New Jersey, Gilbert Tennent, another Presbyterian minister, was preaching the evangelical message and urging the Presbyterian Church to stress the necessity of converted ministers.
The spring of 1735 also marked important events in England and Wales. Howell Harris, a Welsh schoolteacher, had a conversion experience on May 25 during a communion service. He described receiving assurance of God's grace after a period of fasting, self-examination, and despair over his sins. Sometime later, Daniel Rowland, the Anglican curate of Llangeitho, Wales, experienced conversion as well. Both men began preaching the evangelical message to large audiences, becoming leaders of the Welsh Methodist revival. At about the same time that Harris experienced conversion in Wales, George Whitefield was converted at Oxford University after his own prolonged spiritual crisis. Whitefield later remarked, "About this time God was pleased to enlighten my soul, and bring me into the knowledge of His free grace, and the necessity of being justified in His sight by faith only".
Whitefield's fellow Holy Club member and spiritual mentor, Charles Wesley, reported an evangelical conversion in 1738. In the same week, Charles' brother and future founder of Methodism, John Wesley was also converted after a long period of inward struggle. During this spiritual crisis, John Wesley was directly influenced by Pietism. Two years before his conversion, Wesley had traveled to the newly established colony of Georgia as a missionary for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He shared his voyage with a group of Moravian Brethren led by August Gottlieb Spangenberg. The Moravians' faith and piety deeply impressed Wesley, especially their belief that it was a normal part of Christian life to have an assurance of one's salvation. Wesley recounted the following exchange with Spangenberg on February 7, 1736:
[Spangenberg] said, "My brother, I must first ask you one or two questions. Have you the witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?" I was surprised, and knew not what to answer. He observed it, and asked, "Do you know Jesus Christ?" I paused, and said, "I know he is the Savior of the world." "True," he replied, "but do you know he has saved you?" I answered, "I hope he has died to save me." He only added, "Do you know yourself?" I said, "I do." But I fear they were vain words.
Wesley finally received the assurance he had been searching for at a meeting of a religious society in London. While listening to a reading from Martin Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans, Wesley felt spiritually transformed:
About a quarter before nine, while [the speaker] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
Pietism continued to influence Wesley, who had translated 33 Pietist hymns from German to English. Numerous German Pietist hymns became part of the English Evangelical repertoire.
By 1737, Whitefield had become a national celebrity in England where his preaching drew large crowds, especially in London. Whitfield joined forces with Edwards to "fan the flame of revival" in the Thirteen Colonies in 1739–40. Soon the First Great Awakening stirred Protestants up and down the Thirteen Colonies.
Evangelical preachers emphasized personal salvation and piety more than ritual and tradition. Pamphlets and printed sermons crisscrossed the Atlantic, encouraging the revivalists. The Awakening resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of deep personal revelation of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality. It reached people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety and their self-awareness. To the evangelical imperatives of Reformation Protestantism, 18th century American Christians added emphases on divine outpourings of the Holy Spirit and conversions that implanted within new believers an intense love for God. Revivals encapsulated those hallmarks and forwarded the newly created Evangelicalism into the early republic.
The start of the 19th century saw an increase in missionary work and many of the major missionary societies were founded around this time (see Timeline of Christian missions). Both the Evangelical and high church movements sponsored missionaries.
The Second Great Awakening (which actually began in 1790) was primarily an American revivalist movement and resulted in substantial growth of the Methodist and Baptist churches. Charles Grandison Finney was an important preacher of this period.
In Britain in addition to stressing the traditional Wesleyan combination of "Bible, cross, conversion, and activism," the revivalist movement sought a universal appeal, hoping to include rich and poor, urban and rural, and men and women. Special efforts were made to attract children and to generate literature to spread the revivalist message.
"Christian conscience" was used by the British Evangelical movement to promote social activism. Evangelicals believed activism in government and the social sphere was an essential method in reaching the goal of eliminating sin in a world drenched in wickedness. The Evangelicals in the Clapham Sect included figures such as William Wilberforce who successfully campaigned for the abolition of slavery.
In the late 19th century, the revivalist Holiness movement, based on the doctrine of "entire sanctification," took a more extreme form in rural America and Canada, where it ultimately broke away from institutional Methodism. In urban Britain the Holiness message was less exclusive and censorious.
John Nelson Darby was a 19th-century Irish Anglican minister who devised modern dispensationalism, an innovative Protestant theological interpretation of the Bible that was incorporated in the development of modern Evangelicalism. Cyrus Scofield further promoted the influence of dispensationalism through the explanatory notes to his Scofield Reference Bible. According to scholar Mark S. Sweetnam, who takes a cultural studies perspective, dispensationalism can be defined in terms of its Evangelicalism, its insistence on the literal interpretation of Scripture, its recognition of stages in God's dealings with humanity, its expectation of the imminent return of Christ to rapture His saints, and its focus on both apocalypticism and premillennialism.
In the post–World War II period, a split developed between Evangelicals, as they disagreed among themselves about how a Christian ought to respond to an unbelieving world. Many Evangelicals urged that Christians must engage the culture directly and constructively,[page needed] and they began to express reservations about being known to the world as fundamentalists. As Kenneth Kantzer put it at the time, the name fundamentalist had become "an embarrassment instead of a badge of honor".
The term neo-evangelicalism was coined by Harold Ockenga in 1947 to identify a distinct movement within self-identified fundamentalist Christianity at the time, especially in the English-speaking world. It described the mood of positivism and non-militancy that characterized that generation. The new generation of Evangelicals set as their goal to abandon a militant Bible stance. Instead, they would pursue dialogue, intellectualism, non-judgmentalism, and appeasement. They further called for an increased application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas.
The self-identified fundamentalists also cooperated in separating their "neo-Evangelical" opponents from the fundamentalist name, by increasingly seeking to distinguish themselves from the more open group, whom they often characterized derogatorily by Ockenga's term, "neo-Evangelical" or just Evangelical.
The fundamentalists saw the Evangelicals as often being too concerned about social acceptance and intellectual respectability, and being too accommodating to a perverse generation that needed correction. In addition, they saw the efforts of evangelist Billy Graham, who worked with non-Evangelical denominations, such as the Roman Catholics (which they claimed to be heretical), as a mistake.
The post-war period also saw growth of the ecumenical movement and the founding of the World Council of Churches, which was generally regarded with suspicion by the Evangelical community.
The charismatic movement began in the 1960s and resulted in Pentecostal theology and practice being introduced into many mainline denominations. New charismatic groups such as the Association of Vineyard Churches and Newfrontiers trace their roots to this period (see also British New Church Movement).
According to a 2011 Pew Forum study on global Christianity, 285,480,000 or 13.1 percent of all Christians are Evangelicals. The largest concentration of Evangelicals can be found in the United States, with 26.8% of the U.S. population or 94.38 million, the latter being roughly one third of the world's Evangelicals. The next most populous is Brazil, with 26.3% or 51.33 million.
The World Evangelical Alliance is "a network of churches in 129 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a world-wide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians". The Alliance was formed in 1951 by Evangelicals from 21 countries. It has worked to support its members to work together globally.
The World Christian Database estimates the number of Evangelicals at 300 million, Pentecostals and Charismatics at 600 million and "Great Commission" Christians at 700 million. These groups are not mutually exclusive. Operation World estimates the number of Evangelicals at 550 million.
From 1960 to 2000, the global growth of the number of reported Evangelicals grew three times the world's population rate, and twice that of Islam.
In the 21st century, there are Evangelical churches active in Sudan, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, and Nigeria. They have grown especially since independence came in the 1960s, the strongest movements are based on Pentecostal-charismatic[clarification needed] beliefs, and comprise a way of life that has led to upward social mobility[dubious ] and demands for democracy. There is a wide range of theology and organizations, including some sponsored by European missionaries and others that have emerged from African culture[dubious ] such as the Apostolic and Zionist Churches which enlist 40% of black South Africans, and their Aladura counterparts in western Africa.[page needed]
In Nigeria the Evangelical Church Winning All (formerly "Evangelical Church of West Africa") is the largest church organization with five thousand congregations and over three million members. It sponsors two seminaries and eight Bible colleges, and 1600 missionaries who serve in Nigeria and other countries with the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS). There have been serious confrontations since 1999 between Muslims and Evangelical Christians standing in opposition to the expansion of Sharia law in northern Nigeria. The confrontation has radicalized and politicized the Christians. Violence has been escalating.
In Kenya, mainstream Evangelical denominations have taken the lead[dubious ] in promoting political activism and backers, with the smaller Evangelical sects of less importance. Daniel arap Moi was president 1978 to 2002 and claimed to be an Evangelical; he proved intolerant of dissent or pluralism or decentralization of power.
The Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) was one of four German Protestant mission societies active in South Africa before 1914. It emerged from the German tradition of Pietism after 1815 and sent its first missionaries to South Africa in 1834. There were few positive reports in the early years, but it was especially active 1859–1914. It was especially strong in the Boer republics. The World War cut off contact with Germany, but the missions continued at a reduced pace. After 1945 the missionaries had to deal with decolonisation across Africa and especially with the apartheid government. At all times the BMS emphasized spiritual inwardness, and values such as morality, hard work and self-discipline. It proved unable to speak and act decisively against injustice and racial discrimination and was disbanded in 1972.
Since 1974, young professionals have been the active proselytizers of Evangelicalism in the cities of Malawi.
In Mozambique, Evangelical Protestant Christianity emerged around 1900 from black migrants whose converted previously in South Africa. They were assisted by European missionaries, but, as industrial workers, they paid for their own churches and proselytizing. They prepared southern Mozambique for the spread of Evangelical Protestantism. During its time as a colonial power in Mozambique, the Catholic Portuguese government tried to counter the spread of Evangelical Protestantism.
Protestantism in Brazil largely originated with German immigrants and British and American missionaries in the 19th century, following up on efforts that began in the 1820s.
In the late nineteenth century, while the vast majority of Brazilians were nominal Catholics, the nation was underserved by priests, and for large numbers their religion was only nominal. The Catholic Church in Brazil was de-established in 1890, and responded by increasing the number of dioceses and the efficiency of its clergy. Many Protestants came from a large German immigrant community, but they were seldom engaged in proselytism and grew mostly by natural increase.
Methodists were active along with Presbyterians and Baptists. The Scottish missionary Dr. Robert Reid Kalley, with support from the Free Church of Scotland, moved to Brazil in 1855, founding the first Evangelical church among the Portuguese-speaking population there in 1856. It was organized according to the Congregational policy as the Igreja Evangélica Fluminense; it became the mother church of Congregationalism in Brazil. The Seventh-day Adventists arrived in 1894, and the YMCA was organized in 1896. The missionaries promoted schools colleges and seminaries, including a the liberal arts college in São Paulo, later known as Mackenzie, and an agricultural school in Lavras. The Presbyterian schools in particular later became the nucleus of the governmental system. In 1887 Protestants in Rio de Janeiro formed a hospital. The missionaries largely reached a working-class audience, as the Brazilian upper-class was wedded either to Catholicism or to secularism. By 1914, Protestant churches founded by American missionaries had 47,000 communicants, served by 282 missionaries. In general, these missionaries were more successful than they had been in Mexico, Argentina or elsewhere in Latin America.
There were 700,000 Protestants by 1930, and increasingly they were in charge of their own affairs. In 1930, the Methodist Church of Brazil became independent of the missionary societies and elected its own bishop. Protestants were largely from a working-class, but their religious networks help speed their upward social mobility.
Protestants accounted for fewer than 5% of the population until the 1960s, but grew exponentially by proselytizing and by 2000 made up over 15% of Brazilians affiliated with a church. Pentecostals and charismatic groups account for the vast majority of this expansion.
Pentecostal missionaries arrived early in the 20th century. Pentecostal conversions surged during the 1950s and 1960s, when native Brazilians began founding autonomous churches. The most influential included Brasil Para o Cristo (Brazil for Christ), founded in 1955 by Manoel de Mello. With an emphasis on personal salvation, on God's healing power, and on strict moral codes these groups have developed broad appeal, particularly among the booming urban migrant communities. In Brazil, since the mid-1990's, groups committed to uniting black identity, antiracism, and Evangelical theology have rapidly proliferated. Pentecostalism arrived in Brazil with Swedish and American missionaries in 1911. it grew rapidly, but endured numerous schisms and splits. In some areas the Evangelical Assemblies of God churches have taken a leadership role in politics since the 1960s. They claimed major credit for the election of Fernando Collor de Mello as president of Brazil in 1990.
According to the 2000 Census, 15.4% of the Brazilian population was Protestant. A recent research conducted by the Datafolha institute shows that 25% of Brazilians are Protestants, of which 19% are followers of Pentecostal denominations. The 2010 Census found out that 22.2% were Protestant at that date. Protestant denominations saw a rapid growth in their number of followers since the last decades of the 20th century. They are politically and socially conservative, and emphasize that God's favor translates into business success. The rich and the poor remained traditional Catholics, while most Evangelical Protestants were in the new lower-middle class–known as the "C class" (in a A–E classification system).
Chesnut argues that Pentecostalism has become "one of the principal organizations of the poor," for these churches provide the sort of social network that teach members the skills they need to thrive in a rapidly developing meritocratic society.
One large Evangelical church is the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD), a neo‐Pentecostal denomination begun in 1977. It now has a presence in many countries, and claims millions of members worldwide.
Protestants remained a small portion of the population until the late-twentieth century, when various Protestant groups experienced a demographic boom that coincided with the increasing violence of the Guatemalan Civil War. Two Guatemalan heads of state, General Efraín Ríos Montt and Jorge Serrano Elias, have been practicing Evangelical Protestants. They are the only two Protestant heads of state in the history of Latin America.
General Efrain Rios Montt, an Evangelical from the Pentecostal tradition, came to power through a coup. He escalated the war against leftist guerrilla insurgents as a holy war against atheistic forces of evil.
Protestant missionary proselytism in Asia was most successful in Korea. American Presbyterians and Methodists arrived in the 1880s and were well received. Between 1907 and 1945, when Korea was a Japanese colony, Christianity became in part an expression of nationalism in opposition to Japan's efforts to promote the Japanese language and the Shinto religion. In 1914, out of 16 million people, there were 86,000 Protestants and 79,000 Catholics; by 1934, the numbers were 168,000 and 147,000. Presbyterian missionaries were especially successful. Since the Korean War (1950–53), many Korean Christians have migrated to the U.S., while those who remained behind have risen sharply in social and economic status. Most Korean Protestant churches in the 21st century emphasize their Evangelical heritage. Korean Protestantism is characterized by theological conservatism[clarification needed] coupled with an emotional revivalistic[clarification needed] style. Most churches sponsor revival meetings once or twice a year. Missionary work is a high priority, with 13,000 men and women serving in missions across the world, putting Korea in second place just behind the US.
Sukman argues that since 1945, Protestantism has been widely seen by Koreans as the religion of the middle class, youth, intellectuals, urbanites, and modernists. It has been a powerful force[dubious ] supporting South Korea's pursuit of modernity and emulation[dubious ] of the United States, and opposition to the old Japanese colonialism and to the authoritarianism of North Korea. There are 8.6 million adherents to Protestant Christianity (approximately 19% of the Korean population) in which many[quantify] identify themselves as Evangelicals.
South Korea has been referred as an "evangelical superpower" for being the home to some of the largest and most dynamic Christian churches in the world; South Korea is also second to the U.S. in the number of missionaries sent abroad.
There are an estimated 2 million Evangelicals in the UK. According to research performed by the Evangelical Alliance in 2013, 87% of UK evangelicals attend Sunday morning church services every week and 63% attend weekly or fortnightly small groups. An earlier survey conducted in 2012 found that 92% of evangelicals agree it is a Christian's duty to help those in poverty and 45% attend a church which has a fund or scheme that helps people in immediate need, and 42% go to a church that supports or runs a foodbank. 63% believe a tithing, and so give around 10% of their income to their church, Christian organisations and various charities 83% of UK evangelicals believe that the Bible has supreme authority in guiding their beliefs, views and behaviour and 52% read or listen to the Bible daily. The Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846, was the first ecumenical evangelical body in the world and works to unite evangelicals, helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society.
The contemporary North American usage of the term reflects the impact of the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of the early 20th century. Evangelicalism may sometimes be perceived as the middle ground between the theological liberalism of the mainline denominations and the cultural separatism of fundamentalism. Evangelicalism has therefore been described as "the third of the leading strands in American Protestantism, straddl[ing] the divide between fundamentalists and liberals". In 2004 Andrew Crouch wrote in Christianity Today: "The emerging movement is a protest against much of evangelicalism as currently practiced. It is post-evangelical in the way that neo-evangelicalism (in the 1950s) was post-fundamentalist. It would not be unfair to call it postmodern evangelicalism."
While the North American perception has a certain importance in understanding some usage of the term, it by no means dominates a wider global view: elsewhere the fundamentalist debate had less direct influence.
D.W. Cloud wrote: "In the first half of the 20th century, evangelicalism in America was largely synonymous with fundamentalism. George Marsden in Reforming Fundamentalism (1995) writes, "There was not a practical distinction between fundamentalist and evangelical: the words were interchangeable" (p. 48). When the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) formed in 1942, for example, participants included such fundamentalist leaders as Bob Jones, Sr., John R. Rice, Charles Woodbridge, Harry Ironside, and David Otis Fuller."
By the mid-1950s, largely due to the ecumenical evangelism of Billy Graham, the terms Evangelicalism and fundamentalism began to refer to two different approaches. Fundamentalism aggressively attacked its liberal enemies; Evangelicalism downplayed liberalism and emphasized outreach and conversion of new members.
While some conservative Evangelicals[which?] believe the label has broadened too much beyond its more limiting traditional distinctives, this trend is nonetheless strong enough to create significant ambiguity in the term. As a result, the dichotomy between "Evangelical" and "mainline" denominations is increasingly complex, particularly with such innovations as the "emergent church" movement.
By the 1890s, most American Protestants belonged to Evangelical denominations, except for the high church Episcopalians and German Lutherans. In the early 20th century, a divide opened up between the Fundamentalists and the Mainline Protestant denominations, chiefly over the inerrancy of the Bible. The fundamentalists were those Evangelicals who sought to defend their religious traditions, and feared that modern scientific leanings were leading away from the truth. A favored mode of fighting back was to prohibit the teaching of Darwinism or macro-evolution as fact in the public schools, a movement that reached its peak in the Scopes Trial of 1925, and resumed in the 1980s. The more modernistic Protestants largely abandoned the term "evangelical" and tolerated evolutionary theories in modern science and even in Biblical studies.
Evangelicals held the view that the modernist and liberal parties in the Protestant churches had surrendered their heritage as Evangelicals by accommodating the views and values of secularism. At the same time, the modernists criticized fundamentalists for their separatism and their rejection of the Social Gospel.
During and after World War II, Evangelicals increasingly organized, and expanded their vision to include the entire world. There was a great expansion of Evangelical activity within the United States, "a revival of revivalism." Youth for Christ was formed; it later became the base for Billy Graham's revivals. The National Association of Evangelicals formed in 1942 as a counterpoise to the mainline Federal Council of Churches. In 1942–43, the Old-Fashioned Revival Hour had a record-setting national radio audience.[page needed]
Even more dramatic was the expansion of international missionary activity by the Evangelicals. They had enthusiasm and self-confidence after the national victory in the world war. Many Evangelicals came from poor rural districts, but wartime and postwar prosperity dramatically increased the funding resources available for missionary work. While mainline Protestant denominations cut back on their missionary activities, from 7000 to 3000 overseas workers between 1935 and 1980, the Evangelicals increased their career foreign missionary force from 12,000 in 1935 to 35,000 in 1980. Meanwhile Europe was falling behind, as North Americans comprised 41% of all the world's Protestant missionaries in 1936, rising to 52% in 1952 and 72% in 1969. The most active denominations were the Assemblies of God, which nearly tripled from 230 missionaries in 1935 to 626 in 1952, and the United Pentecostal Church International, formed in 1945. The Southern Baptists more than doubled from 405 to 855, as did the Church of the Nazarene from 88 to 200. Overseas missionaries began to prepare for the postwar challenge, most notably the Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (FEGC; now named "Send International"). After Nazi Germany and fascist Japan had been destroyed, the newly mobilized Evangelicals were now prepared to combat atheistic communism, secularism, Darwinism, liberalism, Catholicism, and (in overseas missions) paganism.
Meaning of Evangelicalism in the US
The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals states:
There are three senses in which the term "evangelical" is used today at the beginning of the 21st-century. The first is to view "evangelical" as all Christians who affirm a few key doctrines and practical emphases. British historian David Bebbington approaches evangelicalism from this direction and notes four specific hallmarks of evangelical religion: conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
A second sense is to look at evangelicalism as an organic group of movements and religious tradition. Within this context "evangelical" denotes a style as much as a set of beliefs. As a result, groups such as black Baptists and Dutch Reformed Churches, Mennonites and Pentecostals, Catholic charismatics and Southern Baptists all come under the evangelical umbrella, thus demonstrating just how diverse the movement really is.
A third sense of the term is as the self-ascribed label for a coalition that arose during the Second World War. This group came into being as a reaction against the perceived anti-intellectual, separatist, belligerent nature of the fundamentalist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Importantly, its core personalities (like Harold John Ockenga and Billy Graham), institutions (for instance, Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College), and organizations (such as the National Association of Evangelicals and Youth for Christ) have played a pivotal role in giving the wider movement a sense of cohesion that extends beyond these "card-carrying" evangelicals.
The 2004 survey of religion and politics in the United States identified the Evangelical percentage of the population at 26.3 percent while Roman Catholics are 22 percent and mainline Protestants make up 16 percent. In the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the figures for these same groups are 28.6 percent (Evangelical), 24.5 percent (Roman Catholic), and 13.9 percent (mainline Protestant.) The latter figures are based on a 2001 study of the self-described religious identification of the adult population for 1990 and 2001 from the Graduate School and University Center at the City University of New York. A 2008 study showed that in the year 2000 about 9 percent of Americans attended an Evangelical service on any given Sunday. The Economist estimated in May 2012, that "over one-third of Americans, more than 100 M, can be considered evangelical," arguing that the percentage is often undercounted because many black Christians espouse Evangelical theology but prefer to refer to themselves as "born again Christians" rather than "evangelical." These estimated figures given by The Economist agree with those in 2012 from Wheaton College's Institute for the Studies of American Evangelicals.
The movement is highly diverse and encompasses a vast number of people. Because the group is diverse, not all of them use the same terminology for beliefs. For instance, several recent studies and surveys by sociologists and political scientists that utilize more complex definitional parameters have estimated the number of Evangelicals in the U.S. in 2012 at about 30–35% of the population, or roughly between 90 and 100 million people.
The National Association of Evangelicals is a U.S. agency which coordinates cooperative ministry for its member denominations.
Types of Evangelical
John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, used polling data to separate Evangelicals into three camps, which he labels as traditionalist, centrist and modernist:
- Traditionalists, characterized by high affinity for certain Protestant beliefs, (especially penal substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, the authority of scripture, the priesthood of all believers, etc.) which, when fused with the highly political milieu of Western culture (especially American culture), has resulted in the political disposition that has been labeled the Christian right, with figures like Jerry Falwell and the television evangelist Pat Robertson as its most visible spokesmen.
- Centrist evangelicals, described as socially conservative, mostly avoiding politics, who still support much of traditional Christian theology.
- Modernist evangelicals, a small minority in the movement, have low levels of church-attendance and "have much more diversity in their beliefs".
Evangelical political influence in America was first evident in the 1830s with movements such as abolition of slavery and the prohibition movement, which closed saloons and taverns in state after state until it succeeded nationally in 1919. The Christian right is a coalition of numerous groups of traditionalist and observant church-goers of every kind: especially Catholics on issues such as birth control and abortion, Southern Baptists, Missouri Synod Lutherans and others.
Evangelical political activists are not all on the right. There is a small group of liberal white Evangelicals. Most African Americans belong to Baptist, Methodist or other denominations that share Evangelical beliefs; they are firmly in the Democratic coalition and (except for gay and abortion issues) are generally liberal in politics.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2014)|
Typically, members of the Evangelical left affirm the primary tenets of Evangelical theology, such as the doctrines of Incarnation, atonement, and resurrection, and also see the Bible as a primary authority for the church. A major theological difference, however, which in turn leads to many of the social/political differences, is the issue of how strictly to interpret the Bible, as well as what particular values and principles predominantly constitute the "biblical worldview" believed to be binding upon all followers. Inevitably, battles over how to characterize each other and themselves ensue, with the Evangelical left and right often hyperbolically regarding each other as "mainline/non-evangelical" and "fundamentalist" respectively.
Unlike conservative Evangelicals, the Evangelical left is generally opposed to capital punishment and supportive of gun control. In many cases, Evangelical leftists are pacifistic. Some promote the legalization of same-sex marriage or protection of access to abortion for the society at large without necessarily endorsing the practice themselves. There is considerable dispute over how to even characterize the various segments of the Evangelical theological and political spectra, and whether a singular discernible rift between "right" and "left" is oversimplified. However, to the extent that some simplifications are necessary to discuss any complex issue, it is recognized that modern trends like focusing on non-contentious issues (like poverty) and downplaying hot-button social issues (like abortion) tend to be key distinctives of the modern "evangelical left" or "emergent church" movement.
Since 1980, a central issue motivating conservative Evangelicals' political activism is abortion. The 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, which legalized abortion, proved decisive in bringing together Catholics and Evangelicals in a political coalition, which became known as the Religious Right when it successfully mobilized its voters behind presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980.
In the United States, Supreme Court decisions that outlawed organized prayer in school and restricted church-related schools also played a role in mobilizing the Religious Right. In addition, questions of sexual morality and homosexuality have been energizing factors—and above all, the notion that "elites" are pushing America into secularism.
Opponents criticise the Evangelicals, whom they say actually want a Christian America—America being a nation in which Christianity is given a privileged position. Survey data shows that "between 64 and 75 percent do not favor a 'Christian Nation' amendment", though between 60 and 75 percent also believe that Christianity and Political Liberalism are incompatible. Evangelical leaders, in turn, counter that they merely seek freedom from the imposition by national elites of an equally subjective secular worldview, and feel that it is their opponents who are violating their rights.
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (May 2013)|
According to recent reports in the New York Times, some Evangelicals have sought to expand their movement's social agenda to include poverty, combating AIDS in the Third World, and protecting the environment. This is highly contentious within the Evangelical community, since more conservative Evangelicals believe that this trend is compromising important issues and prioritizing popularity and consensus too highly. Personifying this division were the Evangelical leaders James Dobson and Rick Warren, the former who warned of the dangers of a Barack Obama victory in 2008 from his point of view, in contrast with the latter who declined to endorse either major candidate on the grounds that he wanted the church to be less politically divisive and that he agreed substantially with both men.
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- ——— (1999), Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-512907-5.
- Freston, Paul (2004), Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-60429-X.
- Hindmarsh, Bruce (2005), The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Kidd, Thomas S (2007), The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America, Yale University Press.
- Knox, Ronald (1950), Enthusiasm: a Chapter in the History of Religion, with Special Reference to the XVII and XVIII Centuries, Oxford, Eng: Oxford University Press, pp. viii, 622 pp.
- Marsden, George M (1991), Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (excerpt and text search).
- ——— (1987), Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.
- Noll, Mark A (1992), A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 311–89, ISBN 0-8028-0651-1.
- Noll, Mark A; Bebbington, David W; Rawlyk, George A, eds. (1994), Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles and Beyond, 1700–1990.
- Pierard, Richard V. (1979), "The Quest For the Historical Evangelicalism: A Bibliographical Excursus", Fides et Historia 11 (2): 60–72.
- Price, Robert M. (1986), "Neo-Evangelicals and Scripture: A Forgotten Period of Ferment", Christian Scholars Review 15 (4): 315–30.
- Rawlyk, George A; Noll, Mark A, eds. (1993), Amazing Grace: Evangelicalism in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States.
- Schafer, Axel R (2011), Countercultural Conservatives: American Evangelicalism From the Postwar Revival to the New Christian Right, U. of Wisconsin Press, 225 pp; covers evangelical politics from the 1940s to the 1990s that examines how a diverse, politically pluralistic movement became, largely, the Christian Right.
- Smith, Timothy L (1957), Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War.
- Stackhouse, John G (1993), Canadian Evangelicalism in the Twentieth Century
- Sutton, Matthew Avery. American Apocalypse: A history of modern evangelicalism (2014)
- Utzinger, J. Michael (2006), Yet Saints Their Watch Are Keeping: Fundamentalists, Modernists, and the Development of Evangelical Ecclesiology, 1887–1937, Macon: Mercer University Press, ISBN 0-86554-902-8.
- Ward, WR (2006), Early Evangelicalism: A Global Intellectual History (Amazon excerpt and text search), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Wigger, John H; Hatch, Nathan O, eds. (2001), Methodism and the Shaping of American Culture (AMAZON EXCERPT AND TEXT SEARCH) (essays by scholars).
- Wright, Bradley (March 21, 2013), "Black, White & Gray", The Economist, Evangelical Christianity in America (Patheos)
- Anderson, Gerald H, ed. (1998), Biographical dictionary of Christian missions, Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
- Bainbridge, William F (1882), Around the World Tour of Christian Missions: A Universal Survey (AMAZON FULL TEXT ONLINE), 583 pp.
- Barrett, David, ed. (1982), World Christian Encyclopedia, Oxford University Press.
- Brown, Candy Gunther, ed. (2011), Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing (essays by scholars on different countries), Oxford UP, 400 pp.
- Etherington, Norman, ed. (2008), Missions and Empire, Oxford History of the British Empire Companion.
- Gailey, Charles R; Culbertson, Howard (2007), Discovering Missions, Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press.
- Glover, Robert H; Kane, J Herbert (1960), The Progress of World-Wide Missions, Harper & Row.
- Hutchison, William R (1987), Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions.
- Jenkins, Philip (2011), The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (AMAZON EXCERPT AND TEXT SEARCH) (3rd ed.), Oxford UP.
- Kane, J. Herbert (1982), A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, Baker.
- Koschorke, Klaus (2007), A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450–1990: A Documentary Sourcebook (GOOGLE BOOKS), et al., Wm. B. Eerdmans Amazon excerpts, text search and table of contents.
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, (1938–45) (detailed scholarly history), 7 volumes.
- Moreau, A. Scott (2000), Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, et al, Baker.
- Neill, Stephen (1986), A History of Christian Missions, Penguin.
- Newcomb, Harvey (1860), A Cyclopedia of Missions: Containing a Comprehensive View of Missionary Operations Throughout the World with Geographical Descriptions, and Accounts of the Social, Moral, and Religious Condition of the People (GOOGLE BOOKS), 792 pp.
- Pocock, Michael; van Rheenen, Gailyn; McConnell, Douglas (2005), The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends; 391 pp.
- Shenk, Wilbert R, ed. (2004), North American Foreign Missions, 1810–1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy (AMAZON EXCERPTS AND TEXT SEARCH). 349 pp; important essays by scholars.
- Tejirian, Eleanor H; Simon, Reeva Spector, eds. (2012), Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion: Two Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East, Columbia University Press, 280 pp; focus on the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Tucker, Ruth (2004), From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya.
- ——— (1988), Guardians of the Great Commission.
|Look up evangelist, evangelical, or evangelicalism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Institute for the Study of American Evangelicalism, Wheaton College.
- Spencer, Michael (March 10, 2009), "The Coming Evangelical Collapse", The Christian Science Monitor.
- Modern Evangelical African Theologians: A Primer, Need not fret.
- American Evangelicalism and Islam: From the Antichrist to the Mahdi, DE: Qantara.
- Operation World – Statistics from around the world including numbers of Evangelicals by country.
- World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)