Donald Lewis and Richard Pierard, Editors – Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History, and Culture in Regional Perspective
This volume edited by Donald Lewis and Richard Pierard took years of collaboration with international scholars to come into fruition. All of the contributors of the essays have been acclaimed as experts in the study of evangelicalism. The book was created to serve as an introductory resource, “to help evangelicals understand their historical roots and appreciate the movement’s diversity across many cultures and nations, and to enable those outside the movement to come to understand some of its internal dynamics.”  It covers the historical and theological background of evangelicalism in various global contexts and discusses its relationship with globalization and other important themes.
According to Mark Noll, “evangelical designates a set of beliefs, behaviors and characteristic emphases within the broad Christian tradition,”  and throughout history the term has been applied to different movements within this Christian tradition. Noll explains that evangelical religion has always been oriented to going into the world and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He declares, “At its core, it is a faith with a global vision.”  Evangelicalism has the unique capacity to cross borders, to exist within a wide variety of organizational forms, and to retain essential characteristics in adaptation.
From the founders of Pietism and evangelicalism, evangelicals inherited their identity as an activist movement concerned with the practical application of the gospel. Each generation has to discern and apply the theological mandate to the current issues confronting the Christian’s conscience. Noll cites David Bebbington’s four components that exhibit this type of evangelicalism. They are Conversion or turning away from self and sin; Biblicism as the ultimate authority in all matters of faith; Activism in witnessing the gospel, social reform and charity work; and Crucicentrism or stressing Christ on the cross and His resurrection.
In addition to Bebbington’s designations, other terms also describe evangelicals around the world:
Fundamentalism is a term that originated in the United States in the twentieth century to depict conservative evangelicals who protested against unorthodox practices and held to the infallibility of the Bible.
Pentecostalism emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit, especially the baptism of the Holy Spirit resulting in speaking in tongues.
Charismatics hold to the direct presence of God through the activity of the Holy Spirit, but do not insist on speaking in tongues as a sign of that experience.
Apostolic, Zionist, and Indigenous Christian Movements developed in the Southern Hemisphere in the twentieth century and exercised much autonomy in adapting to the local culture. However, Noll informs us that there is an increasing vagueness concerning the use of term evangelicalism both by scholars and among evangelicals themselves.
Donald Lewis underscores that “The expansion of evangelicalism beginning in the eighteenth century both coincided with and contributed to the global expansion of Western nations. This process of modernization and worldwide spread of a common culture is usually referred to by scholars as “globalization.”  Other definitions emphasize the global economic and political reach of multinational corporations. Lewis’ definition of globalization incorporates the economic, social, political, cultural, and religious dimensions at work because he indicates globalization “crosses a number of academic disciplines such as, sociology, anthropology, history, religion, economics, and political science.”  The great concerns in “globalization debates are the ideas that Western economic, political and cultural models are increasingly influencing and homogenizing the global village.” 
There are some common elements of agreement among scholars regarding globalization: Globalization is a cultural and economic phenomenon that is historically rooted in the expansion of the European nations; Globalization is closely linked to the rise of modern capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; International capitalism has triumphed as an economic system seemingly without restraints; The high demands of a world economy has facilitated the growth of transnational corporations.
Lewis points out that much of Christianity’s growth in the second half of the twentieth century was due to the expansion of evangelicalism in its Pentecostal or charismatic forms in the non-Western world. During the same period of time, Christianity in Europe and North America was experiencing defections at a rate of about 2 million a year. He explains that much of this evangelicalism is the result of religious glocalization. A global religious movement has adapted to local situations and developed independent indigenous leadership that is culturally diverse and centered on numerous localities. Lewis states, “By its ability to localize and embed itself in new forms in diverse cultures, evangelicalism represents a powerful force resisting the homogenizing tendencies of globalization.” He believes this confirms Weber’s observation “that new religious perceptions usually emerge among those on the periphery of civilizations, as they are the people who are often willing to question received ways of operating.” 
Lewis notes that a large percentage, perhaps the vast majority of Christian missionaries today come from non-Western churches and go to non-Western countries. Many people are puzzled by this shift in events. Because they misread the Bible. Matthew 28:18-20, pertains to all believers for all times. Many Christians have gotten this wrong because they presumed that the traffic was to go in one direction only and the mandate did not apply to all believers in every locale. God’s plan is for all believers to be a witness to the nations in some form or fashion to assure that all peoples have the opportunity to hear the gospel.
- Donald Lewis and Richard Pierard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 13.
- Ibid., 18.
- Ibid., 19.
- Ibid., 60.
- Ibid., 62.
- Ibid., 74.