Original Research

Recent historical scholarship of evangelicalism

B. Wearne
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 30, No 4 | a1592 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v30i4.1592 | © 1996 B. Wearne | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 June 1996 | Published: 12 June 1996

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B. Wearne,, South Africa

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Abstract

Evangelical historiography is an attempt within evangelicalism to assess its own history. Books like Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994), Stuart Piggin's Evangelical Christianity in Australia; Spirit, Word and World (1996) and David Bebbington's Evangelicalism in Modern Britain (1989) are evidence of a sustained attempt by evangelical historians to re-appraise the history of their religion. In this review Mark Noll's argument about the "mind" (or lack of it), of American evangelicalism is assessed. His historiographical method is scrutinised. The conclusion is that the scandal is wider than the "life of the mind". Evangelicalism, as presented by Noll. Bebbington and Piggin, also involves an unelaborated philosophy of history, which finds great difficulty in distancing itself from the popular sentiment, if not the doctrines, of modern society. The recent historiography of evangelicalism needs a Christian method for criticising itself lest it become another form of post-modern romantic popularism.

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