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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

We Stand on these FOUR

Written by: on January 20, 2017

“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” (Loc 53, Kindle). To accomplish the intended purpose of this book, we will find three distinct sections in this book:

 

  1. Theoretical Issues (Historical and theological background)
  2. Evangelicalism at Ground Level: Regional Case Studies (surveys of its history)
  3. Issues in Evangelical Encounters with Culture (cultural issues)

 

One of the challenges the average reader will find is that this book targets college, university, and seminary students so the vocabulary can seem overwhelming (13). However, this is expected because Donald Lewis (Ph.D.) has published works in the Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 1730-1860. One of the inconsistencies is that different writing styles allow for some level of boredom while reading. As I gear up for South Africa, it was easier to go online and Google Africa’s history than reading chapter 5. If you are not a numbers guy, you might celebrate the 503 million Christians from the 2008 survey, and ignore the six major sections of that same chapter.

 

However; I assume the editor assumed such technicality because chapter 6 was very engaging. The average reader will appreciate the definitions in the front of the book because it helps to set the tone (19-25). Mark A. Noll defined terms such as evangelical, Pentecostal, charismatic, fundamentalist, apostolic and indigenous. These definitions are important because it helps to define the terms we use in our Christian traditions before we dive into its historicity. We also learn the four key ingredients that help form the basis of Christianity:

 

  1. Conversion: “turning away from self and sin” (234, Kindle)
  2. The Bible or Biblicism: “the ultimate authority for all matters of faith and religious practices” (234, Kindle)
  3. Activism: “the work of spreading the message of salvation in Christ” (246, Kindle)
  4. The Cross or Crucicentrism: This is “the heart of Christian faith is His death on the cross and then the resurrection” (246, Kindle)

The importance of these core values is that it allows flexibility about “nonessentials” (denominational biases or preferences such as gender in ministry) in how evangelicals contextualize the gospel.

 

Global Evangelicalism is described as a textbook in the opening chapters; each reader will find information covering broad subjects. This book is best used as a reference in oppose to reading straight like a typical chapter book. While the chapters exist, these more follow a theme in oppose to story line so you can read these chapters in any order or simply reference the chapters that interest you. This book allows the church to see a clear picture of its health and future by walking through history, observing its current trends and future but more importantly, it discusses the negative ramification of evangelicalism.

 

There’s no denying of the obvious growth of evangelicalism and its importance for us to allow ourselves to remain relevant. This book has found a way to compile what one reviewer calls “front-rank historians” the opportunity to offer insights on the evangelical movement. This book is not exhaustive, but it provides an excellent general introduction and a global survey of evangelicalism with leading scholars globally, in oppose to limiting to the United States and Great Britain.

About the Author

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Garfield Harvey

Garfield O. Harvey devotes himself to studies in cultural intelligence (CQ), global leadership and cultural anthropology. During his doctoral studies at George Fox University, he developed CQ Worship to help ministry leaders manage the tension of leading corporate worship with cultural intelligence. His research on worship brings a fresh perspective that suggests corporate worship begins the moment a church engages a community.

8 responses to “We Stand on these FOUR”

  1. Hi Garfield. Do you feel this book helps you become a stronger evangelical leader?

    • mm Garfield Harvey says:

      Aaron,
      This book doesn’t make me a stronger evangelical leader. I just believe it was a great reference book for probably content writing but this wouldn’t be something I’d call a must-read. For those who are new to the world of Evangelicalism, this would provide great information.

  2. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Garfield,

    From this book’s descriptions of Evangelicalism and it cultural flexibility, can you describe what you saw of this movement in Jamaica?

    • mm Garfield Harvey says:

      Marc,
      Evangelicalism came a long way in jamaica. In the late 1800s, we had some influence of Moravianism and then Baptist but it quickly died out because slavery was overwhelming. While people like the idea of religion since many were practicing witch craft because of the African heritage, the practice of religion was only for the middle and upper class. After Pentecostalism, everything broke free because it brought hope. We never fully embraced the evangelical movement until the 1940s and ironically, in 1962 we gained our independence. There’s no historical evidence but I believe that Evangelicalism was instrumental in our independence as a country. This new religious practice allowed everyone to participate, including the slaves and in less than 20 years slavery became obsolete. Naturally, I wasn’t born in the 1940s but we held true to this religious practice because of the physical freedom it brought before the idea of serving God. Now, there’s a priority in God who brings spiritual healing.

  3. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Garfield:

    Nice job on the post. After reading Bebbington, how did you contrast the two books? Did one seem to bring more clarity? If so why?

    You highlighted the flexibility of “non-essentials” in regards to the four quadrants. Has this flexibility been the basis of the vagary of the term evangelicals? Your thoughts.

    Phil

  4. Pablo Morales says:

    Garfield, thank you for the book review. Despite the technical nature of the book, I hope that you gained helpful insights. This was often the type of literature that I had to engage with in my Masters of Theology, so reading this volume brought some old memories of my seminary years. I like the picture of the mustard see. A good image of what the book describes.
    Pablo

    • mm Garfield Harvey says:

      Pablo,
      I’ve read a lot of technical books and realize that it’s impossible to escape them. Like this book, there many things we can learn or appreciate like the core values. However, as I dive into my dissertation, I realize that some of it will require technicality to show my advanced studies. I don’t necessarily dismiss these books because they have great substance but if I didn’t have to read it, I’d probably skim through a lot more. I went to a Southern Baptist and Assemblies of God grad school so we had a few of these. Yes, old memories…

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