Bebbington’s Evangelicalism in Modern Britain seems to have filled a gap in academic writing with this comprehensive look at the effect of evangelicalism on British society. Even though some reviews such as Watts and Rutz have censured Bebbington for ignoring some of the more negative critiques of the movement, they have also expressed gratitude for his survey, acknowledging there had not been enough academic work on the subject until its publication.
In fact, “Bebbington’s quadrilateral” has become the standard definition of the distinguishing characteristics of evangelicalism: conversionism, activism, Biblicism and crucicentrism. Few question these four pillars, even when disagreeing with some of Bebbington’s finer points. Mainly, the influence of the Enlightenment on the rise of evangelical Protestantism.
Growing up, and into my twenties, my father served as a denominational leader in our Pentecostal denomination. He is fascinated with church history, especially the history of renewal movements. I traveled with him often, and he would stop at historic sites around the globe. He would always pause to provide commentary on each site and its relation to the Church, particularly our Pentecostal tradition. Even though I hated it at the time, I now view these moments as major highlights of my adolescent years. One of the things that stands out to me even now, is the way the expression of evangelicalism has changed over the years even though the fundamental values have remained the same. As I traveled with my father, I can remember expressing great frustration with the church and its inability to “be relevant with the times.” Now, as I take a long view of the evangelical church, I realize it has been shaped by its context perhaps as much as it has influenced it.
Isn’t this the great tension we live in as Christian leaders? We must stand in the present holding to an eternal truth as well as an unknown future. We lead in a time of constant change. It seems the challenge is remaining nimble and relevant in our expression while remaining deeply rooted in core beliefs. We must answer the difficult question, “How do we remain anchored while in constant motion?”
 Clouse, Robert G. 1991. “Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (Book).” American Historical Review 96 (1).
 Watts, Michael. “Shorter Notices — Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s by D. W. Bebbington.” The English Historical Review 107, no. 424 (1992): 747.
 Rutz, M. (2010). The advent of evangelicalism: Exploring historical continuities. Anglican and Episcopal History, 79(3), 315-317.
 Ibid., 79
 Ibid., 271