- Not to be confused with Evangelism.
Evangelicalism is a term referring to a movement in Christianity, a type of Christian, and a group of Protestant denominations. Although the boundaries can blur, evangelical is generally considered distinct from “mainline” Protestant denominations. Adding to the confusion is the innovation of the emergent church.
The characteristics of evangelicals include:
- Belief in being “born-again”
- Active expression of faith through mission
- Obedience to the authority of the Bible (Sola Scriptura), as well as Biblical literalism
- Stressing of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross
HistoryEvangelicalism has roots in 17th century England, Germany and Scandanavia and flourished during the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century. Evangelicals including William Wilberforce were heavily involved in the social justice issues in the 18th century such as the abolition of slavery. In the United States, this divided the church as well as the country. In the early 20th century there were “modernists” who argued for accommodating modern knowledge and “fundamentalists” and some who did not feel part of either side. Some conservatives such as Aimee Semple McPherson continued to be involved in social action. Billy Graham attempted to continue this tradition. Outside the United States, evangelicals are not associated with the religious right, while in the US Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority upstaged the evangelical left.
Evangelicalism is defined by strict adherence to certain doctrine. There is a failure of evangelicals to exercise critical thought to their own belief systems because they believe their belief systems must not be questioned.  This sometimes manifests as a rejection of human reason and adoption of anti-intellectualism. However, not all evangelicals reject self-criticism.
- "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind."
The movement of claims exclusivity by saying "my religion is the one true religion" and all other religious beliefs are false.
Evangelicals are often intolerant of homosexuals.
Other Christian denominations have criticized evangelicals for focusing too much on holding a specific set of beliefs, while leaving little time for putting Christian principles into practice.
- "Much of my evangelical Christianity was an assent to propositional truths. Christianity was something you believed."
There is a tendency toward science and evolution denialism with evangelical groups. Some evangelicals, such as Francis Collins, argue against this position saying that Christian belief and science are entirely compatible and complimentary.
- Apocalyptic upbringing: how I recovered from my terrifying evangelical childhood, The Guardian, 5 April 2016
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