Book Review: “Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History And Culture In Regional Perspective”, Edited By Donald M. Lewis And Richard V. Pierard (IVP Academic, 2014) -- By: Herbert D. Miller

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:1 (Winter 2015)
Article: Book Review: “Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History And Culture In Regional Perspective”, Edited By Donald M. Lewis And Richard V. Pierard (IVP Academic, 2014)
Author: Herbert D. Miller


Book Review: “Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History And Culture In Regional Perspective”, Edited By Donald M. Lewis And Richard V. Pierard (IVP Academic, 2014)

Herbert D. Miller

Herbert Miller is a PhD candidate in theology at the University of Dayton, where he is writing his dissertation on the 1837 oral debate between Alexander Campbell and the Catholic Bishop John Purcell.

Global Evangelicalism is an important contribution to historical and theological studies because of its scope and accessibility. The book is made up of an introduction, ten essays which are divided into three sections, and a glossary and index. The first section deals with basic theoretical issues, such as defining evangelicalism, describing its theological impulses, and its relationship to globalization. The second section is the heart of the book and is composed of five regional case studies of evangelicalism. The third and shortest section comprises two chapters discussing important contemporary issues relevant to evangelicalism—ecumenism/ inter-denominationalism and gender.

The purposes of the book are to provide a general introduction to evangelicalism and offer a global survey of the topic. The editors have two audiences in mind—“in house” readers and interested outsiders. I understand “in house” readers to include both evangelical scholars and evangelicals who are not academics. Those who do not have confessional evangelical commitments will still find the book to be a rigorous primer on the history of evangelicalism.

The first section deals with theoretical issues. In ch. 1, Mark Noll1 appropriates Bebbington’s Quadrilateral as the most useful definition of evangelicalism to date. These four “key ingredients”— conversion, biblicism, activism, and crucicentrism—provide the necessary framework for a substantive and organized description of the regional case studies to come later. For those readers who want to move beyond the aims of the book and offer comparative analyses of the regional case studies, the Quadrilateral provides the thematic unity to accommodate that goal. Additionally, Noll discusses the contestable terms “fundamentalism,” “Pentecostalism,” and “charismatics,” as they relate to evangelicalism. In ch. 2, Wilbert Shenk describes the theological impulses that have gone along with evangelical expansion, including personal piety, the voluntary nature of religious commitment, and missions. In ch. 3, Donald Lewis discusses globalization and how evangelicalism has both benefited from this phenomenon and creatively critiqued it.

The second section contains the five chapters that comprise the book’s global survey: Europe and North America (John Wolffe and Richard Pierard); Africa (Ogbu Kalu); Latin ...

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