What has Jimmy Carter to do with Pat Robertson? Both would name themselves evangelicals, but it would be a very broad church indeed that could accommodate them. David Bebbington came up with perhaps the most credible definition of the evangelical movement in his Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. Evangelicalism, according to Bebbington, has four characteristics: biblicism, crucicentrism, conversionism and activism. Undoubtedly, many calling themselves evangelicals would still affirm these, but the range of meaning ascribed to each of these characteristics by those within the evangelical tradition has expanded dramatically, to the point where encompassing so much they explain very little. Continue reading
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