Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Emergence of Evangelicalism in every culture

Written by: on February 3, 2022

The author of Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, David Bebbington, delivers a comprehensive historical account of the evangelical movement in British cultural settings from the 1730s to the 1980s. This historical research book highlights the impact of the Evangelical movements on the developments of many evangelical denominations. Bebbington’s research focuses on the impact of evangelicalism on society as a whole and presents a historical timeline in chronological order. The book surveys first the influence of Evangelicals on society, then covers ways in which Evangelicalism itself changed and was molded by its environment. To explain the changed Evangelicalism in modern Britain, Bebbington first highlights a common characteristic of Evangelicalism. According to Bebbington, four qualities form a quadrilateral of priorities that makes up the basis of Evangelicalism – “conversionism – the belief that lives need to be changed; activism – the expression of the gospel in an effort; biblicism – a particular regard for the Bible; and what may be called crucicentrism – a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.”[1] It was fascinating and highly informational for me to read and learn through the history of Evangelicalism in Great Britain.


I had opportunities in the past to travel to many different places in the world and interact with the effects of evangelicalism in countries of capitalism and communism around the world. One thing is certain in that evangelicalism has changed in every country, and it continues to change in every corner of this world. My recent trip to Tanzania was something I had never experienced before. Almost everyone I interacted with in Bukoba, kids to adults, confessed to receiving Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord and was baptized when they were very young. But social structure of the country is Communist and China has dramatically influenced its economy and social structure in modern days, but the spiritual influence of Tanzania are built on a long history slavery from Roman Catholics, Protestant Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religions. I agree with Bebbington’s findings in Evangelical change – “Evangelical religion in Britain has changed immensely during the two and a half centuries of its existence. Its outward expressions, such as its social composition and political attitudes, have frequently been transformed.”[2] Likewise, Evangelicalism has changed in South Korea, China, America, Thailand, Peru, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Israel, Turkey, Tanzania, Uganda, and almost all the countries where Christianity has been planted in the last twenty centuries.


It seems to me that every country in the modern world has been under the influence of Capitalism and Evangelism, especially in the past two centuries. I see the effects of Christianity, Coca-Cola company, and the modern internet in every remotest corner of our modern globalized world. More and more, the globalizing societies all over the world are undergoing a rise of a new evangelicalism in the 21st century. As Dr. Clark pointed out, there are “new emerging forms of economic life and social arrangements of capitalism within current globalization…to which Evangelicalism, along with other forms of Christianity, agnostically seeks to respond, and with which it seeks to compete.”[3] The world that God created seems to be evolving and constantly changing throughout the centuries. Still, the basis of Evangelicalism continues to inspire and guide new emerging Evangelicals to find a way of living out their faith in their respective contemporary and capitalistic world.

[1] David W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s. 1st edition. (London: Routledge, 1989), 2.


[2] Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, 269.

[3] Clark, Jason Paul, “Evangelism and Capitalism: A Reparative Account and Diagnosis of Pathogeneses in the Relationship” (2018). Faculty Publications – Portland Seminary. 72.



About the Author


Jonathan Lee

President of Streamside Ministry Lead Pastor of EM @ San Jose Korean Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, CA

9 responses to “Emergence of Evangelicalism in every culture”

  1. Jonathan! I hope you are well my friend. Thank you for your reflection here. I’m curious, in your travels what qualities would you add to Bebbington’s four characteristics of Evangelicalism? Do you feel his perspective is exclusive to British, or a broadly Western worldview?

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      After reading Bebbington, I think Evagelicalism has influenced and impacted all the nations and cultures in its own unique way. One quality I would add onto Bukoba, Tanzania’s Evangelicalism would be Expressionism – expression of worship in Evangelical faith. Nations in Africa has unique way of worshipping God in their praise and worship and I think it is connected to their unique African heritage.

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Jonathan, thanks for sharing your observations from trips to other cultures and how faith and economy interact there. Since you have spent time in a capitalist culture and just travelled to a communist culture in Tanzania, what similarities or differences did you notice in the expression of faith amongst communist believers? Are there interpretations made there that would sound radical to people who live in a culture like ours?

    • Kayli Hillebrand says:

      Jonathan – Jumping onto Roy’s questions, did you find that although under communist rule, the Tanzanians still experienced more freedom in their religious practices and expressions where you traveled than those perhaps in China?

      • mm Jonathan Lee says:

        Tanzania was very unique. something I never experienced before. There was a lot of different spiritual and historical invasions and influences in their history. There is so many different spiritual influences from Roman Catholics, methodists, Islam, Evangelicals, and traditional African religions. There is a lot of freedom in religion and all the religion somehow accepts and understands each other in a very peaceful way.

    • mm Jonathan Lee says:

      I lived in China for a period of time too to experience modern communist society. What was interesting about Tanzania was that it’s communist roots are heavily influenced from China, but the dynamics of the society was a complete different atmosphere and vibe from what I experienced in China. One unique similarity I found was that they were very expressive in their facial expressions and in their praises. A lot of the communist countries I visited were more reserved and stoic in their expressions. I always loved their celebration style of wholehearted worship! It’s very unique in a way where there is one leader leading the praises and dance moves and the whole church jumps into it to follow and praise in a most joyful and corporate way~

  3. mm Eric Basye says:

    Hey there Jonathan. I, like Michael, would be curious to hear your take on his question. Both as to your family of origen as well as broad travels.

    I have had the opportunity to travel a number of times to Cenrtal Aisa and Middle East, and it seems that though there are some cultural differences, there are far more silarities that bind us together, which is quite amazing. However, to see “evangelicalism” in say Russia as opposed to Palestine or Afghanistan also has its notable differences, which I think tend to be more cultural in nature.

  4. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Jonathan: Thoughtful post, I liked your comments about how Clark interacted with Bebbington. This new century that we are experiencing is full of changes and Capitalism and Evangelism often are paired together–rightly or wrongly. How will the two merge or diverge in the coming decades? We need to be able to read the sings of the times, Jesus says, and reading a thoughtful dissertation like Clark’s and a history like Bebbington’s helps us read the sings more insightfully.

  5. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Jonathan, Welcome back. I hope you are feeling fully recovered after you long journey. Your many journeys must have given many observations how the various cultures apply the various concepts of Evangelism or not. I would be great to hear some of them and if you felt they were effective or not.

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