Monday, November 16, 2015
‘I’m an Evangelical’: Rescuing the Term
Modern evangelicalism was born in a joke told by George Whitefield during the First Great Awakening. The joke goes that a man dies and meets St. Peter at the gates of heaven. He asks St. Peter if there are Anglicans in heaven. “No, sir,” replied St. Peter, “there are no Anglicans in heaven.” That always got a laugh. Then the man asked if there were Presbyterians. Same answer. Then the man asked about Baptists, people “of the Methodist Way,” and Congregationalists. He gave the same answer for them all. Exasperated, the man asked, “Then tell me, St. Peter, who is in heaven?”
“Christians, sir, Christians are in heaven,” St Peter said.
Thus began what we call evangelicalism. The idea of there being a broader term that encompasses a whole range of Protestants quickly gained traction. The church historian David Bebbington offered a definition for evangelicalism. The “Bebbington quadrilateral” identifies four things that mark evangelicalism.... Read more
Posted by Robin G. Jordan at 3:22 PM