Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: Missional, Intellectual, Theologically Diverse, Complex, and Increasingly Global by Ryan A. Brandt and Amber Thomas Reynolds

Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: Missional, Intellectual, Theologically Diverse, Complex, and Increasingly Global  Ryan A. Brandt and Amber Thomas Reynolds Ryan A. Brandt is Professor of Christian History and Theology at Grand Canyon University; Amber Thomas Reynolds is Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Wheaton College (IL) Introduction Twentieth-century evangelicalism: what a daunting subject to choose! The genesis of this special issue of JBTS was in February 2020. In the three plus years since then, the world changed. And although evangelical identity was already heavily contested prior to 2020, more than ever, whether it is possible to analyze modern “evangelicalism” as an essentially religious rather than a political or cultural movement is in question, especially among American academics and journalists. Important studies of the intersections between evangelicalism and race, politics, and gender have certainly revealed historical blind spots.1 Yet, for all of the recent debate, it is important to remember that defining “evangelical” and “evangelicalism”—even whether or not to capitalize the term—has been debated for at least a century. The profusion of writing on evangelicalism, furthermore, frustrates any attempt to contribute something new to the discussion.2 Thus, the editors have approached the topic with modest aims, recognizing our particular perspectives: one editor, trained…

American Evangelical Missions Since 1910 by A. Scott Moreau

American Evangelical Missions Since 1910 A. Scott Moreau Scott is Professor of Intercultural Studies Emeritus and former Academic Dean of Wheaton College Graduate School   Abstract: This article provides a brief synopsis of US evangelical missions over the course of the twentieth century. Each of the four historical sections (1910 to 1945, 1946 to 1974, 1975 to 2000, 2001 to 2020) explores developments, challenges, and trends of the time period under consideration. From the nascent development of evangelical missions to the current climate of evangelical splintering, the twentieth century has seen a tumultuous, exciting, surprising, and challenging journey of American evangelical missions.1 Keywords: mission, missiology, missions, evangelical, ecumenical, conciliar, fundamentalist, Pentecostalism, contextualization, holistic mission. Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Forgotten Voices in Early Twentieth-Century Evangelical Theology by Kenneth J. Stewart

Forgotten Voices in Early Twentieth-Century Evangelical Theology  Kenneth J. Stewart Kenneth is Professor of Theological Studies Emeritus, Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA Abstract: Standard accounts of fundamentalism and evangelicalism in the inter- war period of the twentieth century uniformly emphasize the paucity of energetic scholarship in Scripture and Theology. It is suggested that energies were largely directed towards theological combat. We are told that those who did research and write did so for those who shared their commitments. This standard approach passes over the fact that on both sides of the Atlantic, there were evangelical scholars already in their careers in the 1920s and 30s who worked away doing solid scholarship, scholarship which laid the foundations for the better-recognized blossoming of evangelical learning in the post-World War Two era. Keywords: Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, Inter-Varsity, Tyndale House, Fuller Theological Seminary Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws and Their Place in the History and Trajectory of Evangelical Soteriology by Sean McGever

Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws and Their Place in the History and Trajectory of Evangelical Soteriology  Sean McGever Sean (PhD, Aberdeen) is adjunct faculty in the College of Theology at Grand Canyon University and Area Director for Young Life   Abstract: This article analyzes the trajectory and norms of evangelical soteriology and evangelistic ministry established by early evangelicals Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley and later pattern set by Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws. It examines how terms such as conversion, regeneration, the new birth, and being born again were used in evangelical literature and how they were understood. It further looks at the practices of Campus Crusade for Christ and its focus on decisions, looking at the results of the Berkeley Blitz, Explo ’74 in South Korea, and the Here’s Life campaigns around the world. It concludes by identifying five key areas in which the approach and practices of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ differs from that of early evangelicals. Keywords: Evangelicalism, soteriology, conversion, sinner’s prayer, decisionism, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ. Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

The Indelible Mark of Boon Mark Gittisarn on Twentieth-Century Christianity in Thailand: A Brief Biography by Karl Dahlfred

The Indelible Mark of Boon Mark Gittisarn on Twentieth-Century Christianity in Thailand: A Brief Biography  Karl Dahlfred Karl is professor of church history at Chiang Mai Theological Seminary and missionary with OMF International   Abstract: Over the course of nine decades in the twentieth century, Thai pastor and evangelist Boon Mark Gittisarn tirelessly preached the Gospel throughout Thailand, asserted Thai leadership when missionaries were slow to yield control, and helped launch Thailand’s Pentecostal movement. His spiritual journey began with American Presbyterians and shifted to fundamentalism, then Pentecostalism, and ended with Seventh Day Adventism. During this time, he linked himself to diverse evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal figures including John Sung, Carl McIntire, and T. L. Osborn. Bold and charismatic, Boon Mark fought against missionary paternalism, decried theological liberalism, and provided leadership that united and divided Thai Christians and missionaries, leaving an indelible and transformative mark upon the churches of Thailand. Keywords: evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, fundamentalism, Thailand Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Evangelicals Shift to the South, 1900-2020: Decentering Western Perspectives and Building Global Equality by Todd M. Johnson

Evangelicals Shift to the South, 1900-2020: Decentering Western Perspectives and Building Global Equality  Todd M. Johnson Todd is the Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of Mission and Global Christianity and co-director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as Visiting Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs   Abstract: In 1900, 7.8 percent of all Evangelicals lived in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania. By 2020, this grew to 77 percent, representing an epochal shift to the Global South. Yet, Evangelicalism is still characterized as a European faith, with Western perspectives normalized in theology, spirituality, leadership, and other areas. This article examines what it would look like to decenter Western perspectives and build equality for perspectives from cultures around the world. We consider how increasing diversity within Evangelicalism impacts the reading of scripture, the development of key theological concepts, holistic or integral mission, relationships between Christians of different denominations, and relationships with people of other religion or no religion. Keywords: Evangelicalism, Global North, Global South, global equality, Scripture, theology, unity, diversity, contextualization Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

On Critiquing Social Trinitarianism: Problems with a Recent Attempt by Andrew Hollingsworth
Articles , Theology / September 15, 2023

On Critiquing Social Trinitarianism: Problems with a Recent Attempt Andrew Hollingsworth Andrew Hollingsworth (PhD, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Philosophy at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Abstract: In his recent book, Simply Trinity, Matthew Barrett argues that Christians need to retrieve the pro-Nicene doctrine of the Trinity, as articulated by the fathers in the patristic, medieval, and reformation periods of the church’s history. He also argues that social trinitarianism is beyond the boundaries of pro-Nicene orthodoxy, and that many Christians today who have accepted some version or another of social trinitarianism have accepted a false Trinity. In this paper, I object to Barrett’s characterization of social trinitarianism, arguing that he misrepresents the positions and agendas of several thinkers who identify as social trinitarians. I also argue that Barrett does not develop a clear argument demonstrating that social trinitarianism is unbiblical, nor does he develop a clear argument against the social-trinitarian views of those individuals that he lists and critiques. As a result, Barrett’s critiques of social trinitariansism in Simply Trinity ultimately fall flat. I conclude with some practical steps for moving the discussions surrounding social trinitarianism forward. Key Words: Doctrine of the…

On Critiquing “On Critiquing Social Trinitarianism”: A Response to Andrew Hollingsworth by Samuel G. Parkison
Articles , Theology / September 15, 2023

On Critiquing “on Critiquing Social Trinitarianism”: A Response to Andrew Hollingsworth Samuel G. Parkison Samuel G. Parkison (PhD, Midwestern Seminary) is Associate Professor of Theological Studies and Director of the Abu Dhabi Extension Site at Gulf Theological Seminary in the United Arab Emirates. Before coming to GTS, Samuel was assistant professor of Christian studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and pastor of teaching and liturgy at Emmaus Church in Kansas City. Abstract: This brief essay is a response to Andrew Hollingsworth’s article, “On Critiquing Social Trinitarianism: Problems with a Recent Attempt.” In his article, Hollingsworth canvases Matthew Barrett’s third chapter in Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Spirit, which surveys the recent history of social trinitarianism, describing its major figures and their divergence (or, “drift”) from the historic and orthodox trinitarianism of Nicaea. Hollingsworth argues that Barrett’s critique fails on account of (a) inadequate engagement with the proponents of social trinitarianism he names, (b) an inadequate definition of social trinitarianism, and (c) inadequate justification for his presuppositions regarding the relative authority of tradition on hermeneutics and dogmatics. In this essay, I will argue that each of these criticisms fail when we consider (a) the nature of Simply Trinity, (b) Simply…

In Other Words? The Difficult Question of Jesus’s Divinity in Schleiermacher by Matt Jenson
Articles , Church History , New Testament , Theology / September 15, 2023

In Other Words? the Difficult Question of Jesus’s Divinity in Schleiermacher Matt Jenson Matt Jenson (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is associate professor of theology for the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. Abstract: The apparently straightforward question of whether Friedrich Schleiermacher believed that Jesus is God proves surprisingly complex. As a teenager, he confessed to his father that he had lost his faith; but later he claimed to have become a pietist again, if of a higher order. He sharply critiqued Chalcedonian categories but spoke of “an actual being of God in [Christ].” Perhaps Schleiermacher offers an orthodox Christology in other words, one that purifies philosophical categories while retaining the central biblical witness to Jesus as God in the flesh. In the end, however, I argue a cumulative case on the basis of epistolary, exegetical, and dogmatic evidence that Schleiermacher persevered in his unbelief “that He, who called Himself the Son of Man, was the true, eternal God.” Read the full article: In Other Words? the Difficult Question of Jesus’s Divinity in Schleiermacher * Portions of this article appear in Matt Jenson, Theology in the Democracy of the Dead: A Dialogue with the Living Tradition (Baker Academic, 2019). Used by…

Theology in a Missional Mode: Harvie Conn’s Contribution by Michael W. Goheen

Theology in Missional Mode: Harvie Conn’s Contribution Michael W. Goheen Michael W. Goheen is professor of missional theology at Covenant Theological Seminary and director of theological education for the Missional Training Center Systematic Theology Under Attack Today systematic theology is under attack in many circles. It has been knocked off its privileged perch for a variety of reasons. John Goldingay speaks for many that “if systematic theology did not exist, it might seem unwise to invent it.”[1] We are in a new postmodern climate that distrusts both reason and all totalizing systems structured by human rationality. There is suspicion that the systems of theology are less systems found in Scripture and more products of creative human construction. Moreover, there has been a recovery of the storied shape of the Scriptural canon accompanied by a deepened awareness of the diversity of literary genres. The Bible is not simply a data dump of theological propositions,[2] nor a storehouse of isolated theological facts waiting to be arranged coherently by the systematic mind, nor a book with theological pieces of a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be assembled.[3] The Bible is in its overall shape a story of redemption with many genres that equip us…