One piece of history that I have been studying lately is the birth, growth and theology of Evangelicalism. I've read a few books and numerous articles. Early on, late C17 to early C18, Mark Noll tells us of some transformations that took place in practical religion in his book, The Rise of Evangelicalism. These transformations seemed to involve several tendencies:
-Christian faith redefined from correct doctrine to correct living
-A shift from godly order as the church's concern to godly fellowship
-A change "from authoritative interpretation of Scripture originating with ecclesiastical elites toward lay and more democratic appropriation of the Bible"
-A move from obedience to expression
-Music performed by disciplined musicians to music "as a shared expression of the people"
-"From preaching as learned learned discourses about God toward preaching as impassioned appeals for "closing with Christ'" (page 52)
At least some of these sound famaliar don't they?
This history fascinates me as just the very term itself, Evangelicalism, is pregnant with meaning. I don't care for the term as I often associate it with all that is wrong with the church today. Perhaps I take that feeling too far but I tend to agree with Darrell Hart that the term should no longer embraced. I look forward to continuing this study of church history that surrounds the people and events in Evangelicalism. Any thoughts?