Evangelicalism is a word that has broad definitions that can be looked at in terms of Religion as well as social movements. In Christianity, the term is used to denote a specific movement that happens within the protestant believers signifying the relationship that one has with Jesus Christ (Thomas, 2007). The relationship between the believer and Jess Christ begins at the moment when such a Christian devotes their life to Christ. Devoting one life to Christ means that an individual gets born again by accepting that Jesus Christ is their personal savior who forgives all sins. Moreover, such a believer knows that it is only through the forgiveness of sins and getting born again that one can get to have a spiritual union with Jesus Christ. Anyone who in one way or the other does ascribe to the explanations that has been given above can easily fall in the class of Evangelicals.
Evangelicalism as a word came from a Greek word euangelion that loosely translates to mean “good news”, where in this case the good news means the word from the Bible. It is believed that the Bible was written several centuries ago through some wise men who were inspired by God. Therefore the bible is a clear illustration of what God expects from human beings. Euangelizomai is another Greek word from which the word evangelicalism was derived from. This term means “proclaiming as good news”. Therefore those who fall in the group of evangelicalism have the responsibility of proclaiming the good news of God (Thomas, 2007). According to the scriptures, the good news being preached to the Christians is that Christ died on the cross and he died for the sins of every believer. The scriptures goes ahead to state that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will never perish but have an everlasting life. The scriptures (1 Corinthians:3-5) also states that Christ rose on the third day after which he appeared to his disciple named Peter and later on to his twelve disciples. Primarily, the preaching does of evangelicalism have always been based on the above teachings ever since its inception was done.
On the flipside, evangelicalism takes a different dimension in terms of its definition and origin. In the American society, the word Evangelicalism has been used to define a social movement that was part of a wide organizational movement that took place in the nineteenth century (Randall, 2016). It was through the movement that the American society managed to get its transformation on course. For the better part of the eighteenth century, Americans managed to live their lives within the confines of certain hierarchical institutions. Such institutions were valued by everyone in the society since it was through them that the families managed to obtain stability. Additionally, the work lives of the community members were all based on the existence of the mentioned institutions. Within the communities, there were certain ranks and ranks that were supposed to be followed and obeyed by everyone (Randall, 2016). The higher orders were considered to be more superior since they were used to govern on everyone in the society. Moreover, the higher orders were thought to come with a lot of wisdom and much virtue that was believed to be of the benefit to the society. During such periods, families were considered to be the basic structures of the society where every household was headed by a man who was responsible for marrying off their daughters by getting them suitable men to marry them (Donald Scott). Additionally, the head of the household was tasked with the responsibility of getting their sons the right occupations based on their skills and abilities. Later in life, Americans changed from this type of family set up to a liberal society where religion and political societies gave directions to the people’s lives.
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- Balmer, Randall (2016). Evangelicalism in America. Baylor University Press. xvi, 199 pp
- Donald Scott. Evangelicalism as a Social Movement. Web. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nineteen/nkeyinfo/nevansoc.htm. Accessed 8 February, 2016.
- Kidd, Thomas S (2007), The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America, Yale University Press