Monday, November 16, 2015

‘I’m an Evangelical’: Rescuing the Term

Modern evangelicalism was born in a joke told by George Whitefield during the First Great Awakening. The joke goes that a man dies and meets St. Peter at the gates of heaven. He asks St. Peter if there are Anglicans in heaven. “No, sir,” replied St. Peter, “there are no Anglicans in heaven.” That always got a laugh. Then the man asked if there were Presbyterians. Same answer. Then the man asked about Baptists, people “of the Methodist Way,” and Congregationalists. He gave the same answer for them all. Exasperated, the man asked, “Then tell me, St. Peter, who is in heaven?”

“Christians, sir, Christians are in heaven,” St Peter said.

Thus began what we call evangelicalism. The idea of there being a broader term that encompasses a whole range of Protestants quickly gained traction. The church historian David Bebbington offered a definition for evangelicalism. The “Bebbington quadrilateral” identifies four things that mark evangelicalism.... Read more

1 comment:

Freeborng said...

Thank you for the post. For more on George Whitefield, I would like to invite you to the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on the life of Francis Asbury, the young protégé of John Wesley and George Whitefield, opens with the book, Black Country. The opening novel in this three-book series details the amazing movement of Wesley and Whitefield in England and Ireland as well as its life-changing effect on a Great Britain sadly in need of transformation. Black Country also details the Wesleyan movement's effect on the future leader of Christianity in the American colonies, Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is Please enjoy the numerous articles on the website. Again, thank you, for the post.