Evangelicalism

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For other uses, see Evangelicalism (disambiguation).
John Wesley was a prominent early Evangelical and initiated Methodism.

Evangelicalism is a term used to describe a form of Protestant Christianity, which began in Great Britain during the 1730s and subsequently spread throughout the United States, the British Empire, Protestant Europe and beyond. The movement was a revival of Pietism—a spiritual theological tendency associated with Lutheranism—professing a focus on being "born again", missionary activity, preaching and biblical inerrancy. It spread in the United States through various periodical Great Awakenings and would go on to play a particularly prominent role in that country. Some of the most well known, early leading figures were John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.

The Evangelical movement effected a wide-rage of different Protestant groups, although it began as a dissident movement within Anglicanism against High Church "ritualism". Evangelicalism had a degree of influence on the Revolution in America, through Benjamin Franklin. As well as Methodism generally and being responsible for a large growth in the Baptist movement, some specific groups such as the Adventists, Mormons, Disciples of Christ, Christian Science and many others originate during the evangelical Great Awakenings. In contemporary times the World Evangelical Alliance, founded in 1846, claims to represent more than 600 million people.

History

Background and origins

The Anglican Church developed as a political organisation, rather than one based on religious doctrine as a primary concern. It attempted to avoid a state of civil war in England between explicitly Calvinist and Catholic groups following the emergence of Protestantism, by attempting to compromise by taking enough from both traditions to satisfy each group, while penalising those who didn't belong to the state church. During the 17th century, this policy was refered to as latitudinarianism, "enthusiasm" (what may now be called fundamentalism or integrism) was disuaded and the Anglican parish priests played more of a socio-administrative function than an animated "religious leader". Some of the more steadfast groups tried to remain outside of Anglicanism to live their faith fully; this included the Protestant Dissenters (closely associated with Presbytarian academies in Scotland) and the Catholic Recusants (who had a college at Douai in France).

Relationship to Judaism

Evangelicals have often been supportive as of Judaism and Zionism as discussed in the Christian Zionism article.

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