Global Christianity Evangelicalism
Global Christianity

Broad family of Christian movements, emphasizing conversion to Christ, the authority of Scripture, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Billy Graham Crusade, Minneapolis, 1996

Evangelicalism takes its name from a Greek word meaning "gospel" or "good news." Historically, the movement has been shaped by the Protestant Reformation, the Great Awakening, and resistance to liberal theology. Nineteenth-century evangelicalism combined revivalism and social reform, two impulses which later diverged into fundamentalism and the Social Gospel. For several decades in the twentieth century, fundamentalism defined evangelicalism. In the mid-century Billy Graham and many others led the way to a broader evangelicalism. It retained a high view of the authority of Scripture, conversion, and evangelism. But unlike fundamentalism, the new evangelicalism tried to engage with modernity, including popular culture, politics, and academia, rather than remaining separate. Evangelicals view the conversion experience as the entry point into the Christian life; revivals have been an important means to stimulate conversions. This has contributed to Christian growth around the world. In the U.S., the term "evangelicalism" is often contrasted with "mainline" churches, to describe Protestant reconfiguration. In the late twentieth century the fastest-growing type of evangelicalism was Pentecostalism.

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Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.