DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Bebbington has a Quad too!

Written by: on February 20, 2015

Bebbington has a quad too!


February 19, 15


It was very interesting to read about the history of the Evangelical movement in Britain in the midst of some of the prevailing leaders of Protestantism, Methodism, Lutherism, and other movements. In the middle of this our (I will make it personal) Evangelical heritage was being bought forth and coming to light. Bebbington laid out four areas that I really was intrigued by from the majority of the reading. Coming from a holiness background it was very interesting to read about the foundations of our forefathers of the gospel and what tenets of the faith that they developed. The help form doctrine and what we believe now. “ There are four qualities that have been the special marks of Evangelical religion: conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort, biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and what maybe called crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.[1]

These four qualities or quadrilateral are still important now. Beginning with conversionism. This is the belief that human beings need to be converted. No matter how long ago this was it is still the same today. As Christians get away from the rudiments of the faith, I think that we should reassess our Evangelical roots and realize that a conversion must take place in an individual’s soul. They need to be born again by the Spirit and by the water. I really like this. Some Christians don’t want to step on anyone’s toes so they don’t want to appear that they are leading a person into conversion when they should relish this because they must be born again.

Secondly in this quad is activism. This is the belief that the gospel needs to be expressed in effort or action. This is paramount to Evangelizing. You can’t be dormant with the gospel. I have witnessed Christians more interested in finding alternative ways of spreading the gospel through media than by witnessing face to face. While I don’t think that witnessing through media is bad, I still believe we should still be actively witnessing face to face and becoming more adapted to it. The gospel is an active gospel. It is the good news about good things and we should be actively publishing it with our lives as well as with our mouths.

The third in the quadrilateral is Biblicism. This is the particular regard for the Bible. Including all essential spiritual truth found in it. In the Wesleyan quadrilateral, scripture is one in the quadrilateral. In all of my studies I make sure I study the written word of God. I have run up against authors who have the ability to twist scripture to make it fit their ideology or philosophy. The revealed truth of the bible is all we need. There are a lot of new things that Christians have to deal with now and many of them are scratching their heads to decide what side they are going to be on. As Bebbington points out we have to have a regard for the Bible. People can say that the Bible was written in a time when things were different and that we have to contextualize it to fit the time we live in. I believe we have to contextualize it but not change it one bit. Contextualization never means making it fit in our time. Have to make our time fit in the Bible and not the other way around.

Lastly we adhere to crucicentrism. This stress or focus on the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Christ paid it all and we just have to accept it. I come from a denomination that years ago they made us think we had to do something to merit our salvation. I became so religious I should have ascended. The work of Christ on the cross atoned for all of our sins. Christ is our propitiation; He completely satisfies all the requirements that God requires. Our job is to accept the completed work of Christ by grace through faith. I wish I would have knew this twenty something years ago.

The foundation of our Evangelical roots in Britain are important to understand where we are today and how we got where we are today. Its easy for a denomination to act like they discovered Jesus when in fact there were people from other beliefs in Christianity that formed and shaped the very things we hold spiritually dear to our hearts today.

[1]             David Bebbington. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), 2-3.

About the Author


Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

16 responses to “Bebbington has a Quad too!”

  1. mm Nick Martineau says:

    Thanks Travis… I really connected to your statement, “Some Christians don’t want to step on anyone’s toes so they don’t want to appear that they are leading a person into conversion.” We’ve become too lazy and too worried about hurting someones feeling. Good reminder for us. Thanks.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      God bless you Nick, we are in a time where we have to really put our faith in the word of God as church leaders and Chrisitians are devaluing the Bible’s relevance.

    • Dawnel Volzke says:

      Nick and Travis,

      Great thoughts…I also see that some Christians don’t want to step on any toes so they delicately avoid calling people out when they are doing wrong within the Christian community. Hence, some evangelicals and churches gain a reputation for hypocrisy.


  2. mm Mary Pandiani says:

    I’m curious, Travis. What do you think you would have done differently if you had lived into your faith through grace 20 years ago?
    I do think we, probably for all of us in the cohort, have found a connection to Bebbington’s book because it articulates that quadrilateral, especially you Methodists 🙂

    • Dawnel Volzke says:

      Mary – so true! All of us are here not only to get a doctoral degree, but because we are passionate about faith, leadership, and action within the global world that we live in. It is that passion that I admire so much from this group!

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Great Question Mary, wow let me see? I would probaly be a lot further in my life and would have not did so many stupid things. I believe i would be more into the will of God too. When we live the grace life we are not trying to work for our salvation like i was trying to do. I think i would not be gray too. lol

  3. mm Jon Spellman says:

    Travis, of the four, which do you find that rings in your spirit the most loudly?

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Biblicism jon. Instead of misinterpreting the bible or reading it out of context i think we have to believe it the way it is written. There is a scripture that says that even a child could understand the word. As i have been growing in the Lord the greatest task is just taking God at his word and believing it for what it is. Thats the big fight the fight of our faith!

  4. mm Dave Young says:

    Travis, Thanks for your post. Likewise all four characteristics resonate with me as well. I’m likewise most sensitive to role the scriptures play in our liquid modernity. They are easily twisted by taking things out of their context or by proof-texting or half a dozen other easy ways to manipulate what the scripture intends to say. But there is the rub, for thoughtful Bible believing evangelicals. We do need to study our hermeneutics to be clear (what it intends to say). Not that one interpretation is always the right/perfect interpretation but one can have a high degree of confidence that they’ve respectfully treated/handled the scripture in coming to their interpretations. If we don’t have that (hermeneutics) well defined then the consequence will be an erosion of scripture in the evangelical world and thus it not being all that evangelical after all.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Exactly David and thats the travisty that many Evangelicals face. They dont have any hermenutics or the ability to rightly divide scripture thereby making essential scripture void. I pray that we will use the time that we have spent in hermenutics and biblical interpretation to again stand on the supremacy of the word of God!

  5. mm Brian Yost says:

    “Contextualization never means making it fit in our time. Have to make our time fit in the Bible and not the other way around.” Amen, Travis.
    There seems to be such a tendency to reinterpret scripture to fit the cultural philosophy of today rather than listening to what scripture has to say about modern philosophies. Rather than properly contextualizing the message, too often the message is changed to be better received by itching ears that don’t want to hear the truth.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      So true Brian, i have become very serious about keeping the word of God. Believing it and living it is more that just words. Your faith is tested when you stand on the word of God. I pray that God give me the grace to obey his word and to live it in this ever chaning generation of Evangelicals!

  6. Phillip Struckmeyer says:


    Nice layout of the material. It makes me wonder how each of these four attributes are going to weather the days for globalization??? What will conversion, what will activism, what will the bible, and what will the crucifixion all mean. I am perplexed by how the shifting culture is causing our stance to be checked on what we believe and how we live that out. Looking forward to the rest of our semester to see what else we discover and learn. My life is really being changed through all this stuff.

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