The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy

The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Billy Graham and John Stott Evangelical Christianity underwent extraordinary expansion geographically, culturally and theologically in the second half of the twentieth century How and why did it spread and change so much How did its strategic responses to a rapidly changing world affect its diffusion, for better or for worse This volume in the History of Evangelicalism series offers an authoritative survey of worldwide evangelicalism following the Second World War It discusses the globalization of movements of mission, evangelism and revival, paying particular attention to the charismatic and neo Pentecostal movements The trends in evangelical biblical scholarship, preaching and apologetics were no less significant, including the discipline of hermeneutics in key issues Extended treatment is given to the part played by southern hemisphere Christianity in broadening evangelical understandings of mission While the role of familiar leaders such as Billy Graham, John Stott, Carl Henry, Martyn Lloyd Jones and Festo Kivengere receives full coverage, space is also given to lesser known figures, such as Edward Carnell, Agnes Sanford, Orlando Costas, John Gatu and John Laird The final chapter considers whether evangelical expansion has been at the price of theological coherence and stability, and discusses the phenomenon of postevangelicalism Painting a comprehensive picture of evangelicalism s development as well as narrating stories of influential individuals, events and organizations, The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism is a stimulating and informative contribution to a valuable series The title of this book proposes an ambitious project and I am impressed with how well Brian Stanley pulls this off in under 250 pages of text While focusing on the evangelical landscape in the U.S and U.K hence Graham and Stott , he gives us a helpful overview of the global spread of the evangelical movement from 1945 to the year 2000 He opens with exploring the dynamics of this period communications, the spread of evangelicalism in the English speaking world, and the growing evangelical in The title of this book proposes an ambitious project and I am impressed with how well Brian Stanley pulls this off in under 250 pages of text While focusing on the evangelical landscape in the U.S and U.K hence Graham and Stott , he gives us a helpful overview of the global spread of the evangelical movement from 1945 to the year 2000 He opens with exploring the dynamics of this period communications, the spread of evangelicalism in the English speaking world, and the growing evangelical influence of the majority world He then goes back to the beginning of this period and explores the differentiation of evangelical from fundamentalist in its US, British, Canadian and Australian forms, marked most notably in the US with the establishment of Christianity Today as the print organ of the forming evangelical consensus.The next chapter on missions, evangelism, and revival focuses on the development of Billy Graham s global ministry, the World Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, and the East Africa Revival, and finally the work of Scripture Union in Africa Scholarship, the Bible, and Preaching focuses on the beginnings of an evangelical effort to engage the biblical scholarship of the day and produce scholarly work consonant with an evangelical view of scripture, including the New Bible Commentary Stanley explores the British controversy over inspiration and the later American one centered around Fuller Seminary over the issue of inerrancy The chapter concludes with profiling the development of expository preaching as an expression of evangelical biblical conviction in the ministries of Martyn Lloyd Jones, John R W Stott, and James Boice.Chapter 5 profiles the major evangelical apologists of the period beginning with Cornelius Van Til, Carl F.H Henry, Edward J Carnell, Francis Schaeffer, and Leslie Newbigin He also cites the philosophical work of Alvin Plantinga, and the appropriation by evangelicals of High Church Anglican, C.S Lewis, whose approach to the Bible was anything but evangelical Chapter 6 explores the history of world missions consultations and the increasing social justice emphasis beginning from a bare mention at Berlin 1966, to a greater majority world presence and emphasis at Lausanne 1974 and the increasing integration of evangelism and social justice efforts since.Chapter 7 covers the global spread of pentecostalism and that rapid growth of pentecostal movements in the majority world This often gets short shrift in Western contexts but is critical to understanding global evangelicalism Then the book concludes with raising the disturbing question of whether evangelicalism is simply diffusing, or in fact disintegrating as a cohesive movement with a coherent theological stance The book ends with the provocative idea that this may not be something decided in the West but in the Majority world.I found this book a fascinating overview of this decisive period how decisive, the next 50 years may tell It makes one give thanks again for the vision and character of so many profiled in this book, notably John Stott and Billy Graham, but also many other scholars, pastors, evangelists and missionaries of this period At the same time, I think the book shows evidence of, but fails to diagnose the critical issue of the lack of consensus with regard to what is meant by the inspiration, authority, and inerrancy or infallibility, or trustworthiness of the Bible that was oft fought over and also the source of an interpretive pluralism that could lead to disintegration of this movement Does final authority lie with the individual interpreter, within interpretive communities , in the tradition of biblical interpretation Perhaps that would move beyond the descriptive character of this work and yet this issue is important in what seems a growing movement of frustrated evangelicals to Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy That being said, Stanley has given us a masterful overview of the development of evangelicalism up to the turn of the century Having have read all the other books in this series at least twice and dipped into them on loads of other occasions , I am a bit late on getting round to Brian Stanley s installment There are two reasons for this apparent neglect First, I was supposed to be getting a review copy, but the editor forgot to send it to me Second, it came out at a time when I had a whole load of other books which I literally had to read before it, as they wererelevant to my PhD topic whereas this book is wa Having have read all the other books in this series at least twice and dipped into them on loads of other occasions , I am a bit late on getting round to Brian Stanley s installment There are two reasons for this apparent neglect First, I was supposed to be getting a review copy, but the editor forgot to send it to me Second, it came out at a time when I had a whole load of other books which I literally had to read before it, as they wererelevant to my PhD topic whereas this book is way outside my time period it covers c 1945 2000 Nonetheless, I finally got round to starting this volume yesterday afternoon I have scarcely been able to put it down Had it not been for the fact that the Wiles lectures have been on, I would probably have finished it last night, rather than this afternoon All the books in this series represent an outstanding synthesis of the period under review, being written by one of the leading living historians of English speaking Evangelicalism Mark Noll, John Wolffe, and David Bebbington This volume is no exception, as Professor Stanley displays a judicious mastery of a vast array of material covering an enormous amount of ground This book should be required reading for students taking courses on the history of evangelicalism and should be eagerly devoured by all historians of religion The clergy and well read lay people should make time to read this book, even if history is not their thing While a number of difficult topics, including debates over biblical inerrancy, female ordination, and homosexuality are judiciously discussed, the reviewer thought that the chapter on Pentecostalism was probably the highlight of the book If I was to be byper critical, my only complaint would be that perhaps too much space was devoted to the Lausanne Covenant of 1974, while very little was said about Northern Ireland even if C S Lewis gets mentioned a bit Although I would agree that Billy Graham and John Stott are probably the leading figures in this particular age of evangelicalism, it was peculiar that Ian Paisley is not mentioned once in the book Aside from this minor point, I cannot recommend this excellent survey highly enough It is a close call as to whether or not Professor Stanley s book or John Wolffe s The Expansion of Evangelicalism is my favourite contribution to this outstanding series The only slight downside is that the final volume in the series is out of sync chronologically, as it will cover the period from c 1900 45 We all have a personal experience of and perspective on the various people and movements who have influenced our Christian life A book like this fills in the gaps and blind spots in that perspective very nicely.

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