Defining Evangelicalism

14 Jul

Evangelicalism, then, was the application of enlightenment ideas about self and society to Protestantism. And the core conviction this produced was the belief that God interacted primarily with individual believers. In today’s parlance, it was the conviction that authentic faith consists first and foremost in a “personal relationship with God.” Believers spoke to God in prayer, and God spoke back through the Bible. Moreover, God confirmed the authenticity of this faith through tangible, empirically-measurable evidence. This shift was revolutionary. Evangelicals summarily dismissed over a thousand years of tradition that held God engaged humanity as a community—the church—and established human authorities—educated and ordained ministers of the Word—for the sake of order. It also overturned the traditional evidence of faith: entrance into the church community through membership and faithful participation in the life of the church.

So argues historian Tim Gloege–and I find his argument rings very true to what I have found in my studies and experience.

Source: The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism, Part 2 – Defining Evangelicalism

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