Surprisingly, evangelicalism is a global phenomenon: It is not confined to North America or Europe. Global Evangelicalism Theology, History & Culture in Regional Perspective, by Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, explores the growth and explosion of evangelicalism through the theological, historical, and regional perspectives. The book defines evangelicalism by considering its global manifestation as being centered on the hallmark of conversion. The authors focus on the three pillars that inform the agenda of evangelicalism: the bible, crucicentrism, and activism. The book also discusses the reasons and factors that contributed to the explosion of evangelicalism to the different parts of the world through regional case studies. The authors claim, “Many evangelicals themselves have little understanding of their own historical roots.”
This book surveys the global explosion of evangelicalism from its central origin from theological and historical perspectives, includes case studies of evangelicalism’s growth for regions around the world, and even addresses such special concerns as gender and ecumenism. “Its main purpose is then to trace the recent history of evangelical churches and evangelical movements.” Within the past century, the concept of evangelicalism has taken global proportions by spreading from the northern heartlands to form other new and burgeoning centers with vibrant life. Hence, the book gives a regional and conceptual overview of evangelical Christianity. It informs the readers with the diverse perspectives that have contributed to the growth of evangelicalism and the various contributing factors that have enhanced its spread from its origin in Europe and North America. The authors claim, “evangelical Christianity was predominately restricted to Western Europe and North America.” For instance, Williams addresses the common gender issues associated with Christianity and leadership. She does this by giving a nuanced picture that ranges from women leadership and initiatives in the church particularly in the 19th century. She also suggests some of the basic ways that women’s and men’s identities have been constructed.
From the book, it is evident that the global growth of evangelicalism has enlarged significantly from its center in the North America and Europe. The authors even claim that “Pentecostal beliefs and practices have spread like wild ﬁre.” In fact, Christians that identify with evangelicalism outside Europe and North America are now in the majority. This shows that there has been a universal reception and passage of the gospel from a common central region to other parts of the world. Basically, the spread of this Christian phenomenon occurred through the consistent and continuous works of its various messengers. This book is indeed a lens through which readers can understand the growth and rapid spread of evangelicalism. The book is highly readable and speaks with a consistent voice. For instance, it illuminates an early emphasis on bible translation along with other major cultural works into English. With the accommodation of Christianity by the indigenous peoples, Christianity has become a global concept that is a multifaceted mosaic of commonly held truths and distinctive expressions. In fact, the authors point out, “It also helps to explain the great diversity of evangelicalism around the world.”
Some scholars may find it biased towards a particular scholar’s evangelical beliefs and convictions. However, it is advisable to read the collection with a balanced scholarly approach that can read into such historical phenomena as cultural imperialism. In my view, this work is a great resource for readers and researchers surveying the growth of evangelical Christianity in the world. It contains the key and major concepts and factors that inform studies and fills gaps in the research.
The word evangelical designates a set of beliefs, behaviors, and characteristic emphases within the broad Christian tradition. It comes from the Greek word from which we get the English word gospel. The gospel is good news and also the plan of salvation, which Christians are to spread. How do we define what makes someone or something evangelical? What is an evangelical, for the love of God, and why does it even matter? The answer requires an understanding of both the history and theology of the movement, but according to the scripture in Roman 1:16(kj), “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Therefore, Evangelism is sharing the good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. An evangelical, then, is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ. Similarly, the description “evangelical Christian” is intended to indicate a believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news.
Mark Noll asked the question “Why are mainline Protestant churches going along at a sort of steady pace and even declining, whereas evangelical churches are definitely seeing an increase?” However, other questions flow through my mind. Why during our election, did pollsters talk about evangelicals as mostly white? These white votes are associated with the Republican Party, whereas African American evangelical churches in the United States vote for the Democratic Party.
What is a religious point of view? We regard huge numbers of African-American churches in the United States as evangelical. They believe in the Bible. They believe in conversion. They are supernaturalisms. On moral issues, they oppose abortion. They believe that marriage should be restricted to one man and one woman. When we look at the polling numbers, evangelicals are mostly white? Why is that the case?
It seems that American religious life has a political difference between blacks and whites who otherwise share a tremendous amount in their religious beliefs and religious practices. Are the churches that are known as evangelical today descended from the mainline Protestant churches of the nineteenth century?
. Mark Hutchinson and John Wolfe, A Short History of Global Evangelicalism (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
. Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic, 2014), 13.
. Ibid., 14.
. Ibid., 17.
. Ibid., 22.
. Ibid., 35.
. Brian Stanley, The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic, 2013).
 Brian Stiller, Todd M. Johnson, Karen Stiller, and Mark Hutchinson, Evangelicals around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2015).