A movement within Christianity

While evangelical Christianity claims direct descendancy of orthodox Christianity, stemming from the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, the modern framework of evangelicalism is initially found in mid-eighteenth century figures like George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and Nicholas von Zinzendorf.

Alister McGrath recently defined evangelicalism as grounded in six controlling convictions. These are:

  1. The supreme authority of Scripture as a source of knowledge of God and a guide to Christian living,
  2. The majesty of Jesus Christ, both as incarnate God and Lord and as the Savior of sinful humanity,
  3. The lordship of the Holy Spirit,
  4. The need for personal conversion,
  5. The priority of evangelism for both individual Christians and the church as a whole, and,
  6. The importance of the Christian community for spiritual nourishment, fellowship and growth.

Each of these are seen as true, vitally important and based on Scripture. Similarly, the basic points of evangelicalism as defined by British historian David Bebbington are:

Conversionism: emphasis on the new birth as a life changing religious experience,

Biblicism: reliance on the Bible as ultimate religious authority,

Activism: concern for sharing the faith, and,

Crucicentrism: focus on Christ's redeeming work on the cross.

Because of my personal experience, the network of pastors to which I have access and the distinctive relationship which evangelicals have to the Bible, it is the context in which my thinking takes place.

For those interested in more information on the history and substance of evangelicalism, carefully note the works cited at the bottom of the page.

Basic points of evangelicalism drawn from The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark A Knoll (1994), p. 8, and Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity by Alister McGrath (1995). See also David Bebbington's (1989) Evangelicalism in Modern Britian, David F. Wells & J.D. Woodbridge, eds., (1975) The Evangelicals and historical studies of George M. Marsden such as (1984) Evangelicalism and Modern America, (1980) Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925, and (1991) Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.

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This page created on July 12, 1996.
Most recent revision was August 27, 1996.
Copyright © 1996 Gerardo Marti
For information regarding this site, please send email to gerardo@worldnet.att.net.

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