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