David Bebbington is well known for his characterization of the Evangelical movement in terms of the four leading emphases of Bible, cross, conversion, and activism. This quadrilateral was expounded in his classic 1989 book Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s. Bebbington developed many of the themes in that book in articles published from the 1980s to the present, but until now most of those articles have remained little known. The present collection of thirty-two essays makes readily available these important explorations of key aspects in the history of Evangelicalism.
The Evangelical movement arose in the eighteenth century in Britain and America as a revitalization of Protestantism. Sharing much with the Puritans who preceded them, the Evangelicals nevertheless adopted a fresh stance by making revival rather than reformation their priority. Coming from diverse denominations, they formed a zealous united front. Over subsequent centuries they grew in number and carried their message throughout the world, giving rise to many of the churches in the global South that have come to the forefront in world Christianity. The essays in this work deal chiefly with Britain, though a few place the British movement in a world setting. Because Evangelicals on both sides of the Atlantic interacted, reading much of the same literature and visiting each other, there was a great deal of common ground between the British and American movements. Hence many of the topics covered here relate to developments mirrored in the American churches over the last three centuries.
The two volumes of The Evangelical Quadrilateral address different aspects of the Evangelical movement. The first volume deals with issues in the movement as a whole, and the second volume examines features of particular denominational bodies within Evangelicalism. Each volume contains an introductory essay reviewing recent literature in the field, and then a series of related essays.
Volume 1, Characterizing the British Gospel Movement, begins with an overview of the nature of the movement. The essays cover such representative areas as the affinity of early Evangelicalism with the Enlightenment, the impact of Americans Jonathan Edwards and Dwight L. Moody, the advent hope and the experience of conversion as key doctrines of Evangelicalism, the growth of academic historical studies of and by Evangelicals, Evangelical attitudes to science, and widespread trends in the movement and its shifting patterns of public worship in the twenty-first century. The first volume also provides detail on many of the main features that British Evangelicals displayed in common.
Introduction: The Parameters of Evangelical Identity
I The Character and Culture of Evangelicals
1 The Nature of Evangelical Identity
2 Revival and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century England
3 Gospel and Culture in British Evangelicalism
4 Evangelicalism and Cultural Diffusion
II Evangelicals, Americans and the Wider World
5 The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards in Britain
6 Dwight L. Moody and Transatlantic Evangelicalism
7 Global Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth Century
III Evangelicals, Doctrine and Experience
8 The Advent Hope in British Evangelicalism since 1800
9 Evangelical Conversion, c. 1740-c. 1850
10 Holiness in the Evangelical Tradition
11 The Deathbed Piety of Evangelical Nonconformists in the Nineteenth Century
IV Evangelicals, History and Science
12 Calvin and British Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
13 The Evangelical Discovery of History
14 Science and Evangelical Theology in Britain from Wesley to Orr
V Evangelicals into the Twenty-First Century
15 Evangelical Trends, 1959-2009
16 Evangelicals and Public Worship, 1965-2005
David Bebbington’s important scholarship has shaped an entire field. I am delighted to see his classic essays gathered in one place and made readily available to a new generation. Eminently readable and always insightful, these essays represent Bebbington at his best. They belong on the shelf of every serious scholar of evangelical history.~Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Boston University
In this superb collection, Professor Bebbington, one of our foremost historians of modern Christianity, investigates the history, character, outreach, and diversification of British Evangelicalism from the eighteenth century to the present. He shows that far from being opposed to our modernising world, British Evangelicalism has been dynamic, socially concerned, and often progressive—and very much engaged with broader cultural movements, including the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Modernism. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Bebbington’s essays explore Evangelical identity in its widest sense, and will be savoured by all those with interests in the history of Christianity in Britain, and the larger world.~Stewart J. Brown, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Edinburgh
Speaking from these monumental pages is clearly the most authoritative voice on the history of British Evangelicalism in its transnational connections. In two volumes spanning centuries and continents, Bebbington shows with assiduity and rigour how British evangelicalism responded and adapted to cultural change, political currents, and historical tides. Drawing the reader into a compelling mosaic of sermons and worship, history and theology, convictions and conversions, Bebbington brings to life not just what unifies evangelicals across denominational lines and national borders. He also shows in rich contours the diversity and transformability of British Evangelicalism. This collection of essays is nuanced, probing, and valuable; it will be the definitive work on British Evangelicalism for years to come.~Uta A. Balbier, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, King’s College London