Evangelicals, exactly who and what are they? The Christian community loves to work on nomenclature to help define who and what you are. You are not just a Baptist; Southern, American, Primitive, Independent, Fundamental, fire-breathing, and the list goes on. Evangelicals struggle with the same identity crisis.The term “evangelical” seems to morph into whatever the possessor of the moniker wants it to be. Global Evangelicalism is a cooperative work of several evangelical experts, from different quadrants of the globe, shedding light on this allusive group of Christians known as evangelicals from their perspective, hopefully giving inspiration to this force to be dealt with in the world. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint, the evangelical world has truly impacted the cause of Christ in the world.
Donald Lewis and Richard Pierard, editors, state clearly the purpose to their book, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History, and Culture in Regional Perspective, in the “Introduction”: “This book’s main purpose is then to trace the recent history of evangelical churches and evangelical movements while providing a general introduction to the beliefs, practices and characteristic emphases of evangelical Christianity. A second important purpose is to offer a worldwide survey of where evangelical movements have come to exist and of the greatly varying conditions under which evangelicals now carry on their work.”
One of the operative words of the title, “global”, is loaded with innuendos, myth, and misrepresentations. The collaboration of Global Evangelicalism brought clarity by stating, “Some thinkers argue globalization is a myth or lie that has been put forward to disguise the march of international capitalism, giving the impression that it is an unstoppable process that is useless to resist. (Oh how I wish this was understood by every local church.- my thoughts) Others argue that globalization is merely a mask of for Americanization: the world is becoming homogenized as all tastes are flattened and a single flavor triumphs. Other theorists respond by saying the result of globalization is not that people want a single flavor but that it opens a wide diversity of flavors to cater to individual tastes.”
The manifestation of global evangelicalism is what Global Evangelicalism seems to focus on the best. Reaching from Latin American and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Brazil with their “prosperity gospel as the order of the day”, to the complexity, demographic challenge and breakdown of, “Christians 503 million of the 973 million people living in Africa”. Asia does not go unscathed for, “…evangelicalism in Asia in the nineteenth century often looked more like the book of Acts than Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion or the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.”
Twelve months ago, we read David Bebbington’s book, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s. Bebbington, who is quoted in Global Evangelicalism, defined the quadrilateral view of “evangelical”:
There are four qualities that have been the special marks of Evangelical religion: conversionsim, the belief that lives need to changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort, biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible, and what may be called crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Whether reading Bebbington or the compilation of authors in Global Evangelicalism, I still walk away embracing the fundamentals and truths of evangelicalism. But it seems that we are still attempting to nail “fog to a wall”. The evangelical movement is widespread in its definition, lacks a central location to rally around (i.e., the Vatican), and is difficult to find a singular spokesperson that represents the movement. Throw in the international nuances of various cultures and you must believe in the sovereign work of God in the earth.
I am not sure I am any closer to understanding all that there is to evangelicalism. I do have a deeper understanding of the scope of influence that they have been in the earth. When it is all said and done, I guess I are one (bad grammar on purpose)!
 Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, editors, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History, and Culture in Regional Perspective, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 14.
 Ibid., 62.
 Ibid., 194.
 Ibid., 126.
 Ibid., 214.
 D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s, (New York: Routledge, 2002), 3.