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ARTICLE: Why Evangelicalism Is the Future of Protestantism, Part 1

1995This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

The Christian vision of the future now seems increasingly to belong to evangelicalism. The evangelical movement is coming more and more to constitute the mainstream of American Protestant Christianity-to the irritation of others who believe that they ought to have pride of place.

In a 1990 survey of the 500 fastest-growing Protestant congregations in the U.S., 89 percent were found to be evangelical. Scarcely any part of the world has remained untouched by the global renaissance of evangelicalism. Even Latin America, traditionally regarded as a stronghold of Roman Catholicism, is now expected to become numerically dominated by various forms of evangelicalism by the year 2025.

In Europe, evangelicalism has had a lesser impact and is often regarded as an English-language movement. The Church of England has been deeply affected, however, especially during the last two decades, by a resurgent evangelicalism within its ranks.

Young people are attracted to the movement, partly on account of its inherent spiritual and intellectual appeal and partly on account of the sense of well-being and optimism within its ranks.

The inspirational nature of the evangelical vision is now being supplemented by the forging of increasingly rigorous theological foundations, and its intellectual credibility has been enhanced by the growing number of academic theologians within its ranks. Head and heart are being brought together in a movement that is looking forward to the future with a sense of expectancy and anticipation. The future seems to beckon to evangelicalism, inviting it to advance and mature still further.

But will it? Will a movement that today seems to hold such promise for the future of Christianity become an irrelevance tomorrow?

Perhaps ...

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