Some time ago, I attended a seminar on the topic of Evangelicalism – looking at the history, primarily as it has played out in the United States. To summarize…what a mess. I felt sooner or later it would be a topic worth writing about at this blog. It seems to follow well my earlier post on Christian Arrogance.
Evangelicalism did not arise at the time of the Reformation. Protestants travelled through pietism and puritanism before discovering this new identity.
What does it mean to evangelize? To bring the Good News. Nothing at all wrong with that. Evangelism focusses on four distinctive matters: conversionism, activism, Biblicism, and Cruxi-centrism (a focus on the cross and Christ’s sacrifice). The four of these began to come together in the eighteenth-century revivals – the “Great Awakening,” both in the United States and England.
John Wesley would preach of the need for conversion; George Whitfield would draw crowds in the thousands; Jonathan Edwards would write of the surprising work of God. Congregational churches would form in New England; Presbyterian in the middle colonies; Methodists and others in the south. Sermons were all based on Biblical texts, with pointed messages and offering direct application.
Then the fragmentation began (as if these three major denominations didn’t offer enough of this).
There was revivalism: western New York, Tennessee, the Cumberland Valley. Charles Grandison Finney – emotionalism for the sake of emotionalism. People have the free will to choose salvation (see Luther and Calvin spinning in their graves). You don’t have to wait for God to do His work; you decide – just come forward (a pr
Article from LewRockwell