Evangelicalism, broadly speaking, is a Protestant Christian tradition, coming out of the late 19th century Holiness Movement and growing throughout the 20th century. It is usually characterized by a belief in the authority of Holy Scripture, the importance of a personal conversion, baptism of adults only, traditional morality, informality in worship, and an emphasis on missionary and evangelistic activity. Within the broad category of "evangelical" there is a wide variety of theological opinion. Some have been strongly influenced by the Reformed tradition of John Calvin, while others have been influenced more by the more Arminian thought of the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition. Regarding practice, some evangelicals worship along more traditional lines (often influenced by Anglicanism), while others embrace a more charismatic worship style.
Although evangelicalism started as a movement which was ecumenical in scope and included clergy and laity from a wide variety of backgrounds, in the 20th century several denominations emerged which viewed themselves as fundamentally evangelical. These include the Christian & Missionary Alliance, the Evangelical Free Church and others. Other evangelicals continue to be found in denominations that would not, as a whole, embrace evangelicalism.
Relationships with Orthodox Christians
Evangelical interaction with Orthodox Christianity is a fairly recent phenomenon. In the earlier days of evangelicalism, Orthodoxy was frequently either viewed as a corrupt church like Roman Catholicism or unknown altogether. Although in many of their beliefs, such as the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity, and positions on morality, evangelicals and Orthodox can find some common ground, many of the practices of Orthodoxy are seen by evangelicals as questionable at best and superstitious or idolatrous.
Nonetheless, in recent years there has been more and more interaction between Orthodox and evangelical Christians. Sometimes this is of a dialogical nature and sometimes takes the form of conversion.
- Peter Gillquist. Becoming Orthodox
- Heirodeacon Gregory. The Church, Tradition, Scripture, Truth and Christian Life: Some Heresies of Evangelicalism and an Orthodox Response
- M.T. McKibben. Common Ground for Christian Unity: One Evangelical Protestant’s Search for Christian Orthodoxy
- Paul O'Callaghan. An Eastern Orthodox Response to Evangelical Claims
- Eastern Orthodox: Five Protestant Perspectives by Don Fairbairn
- Evangelicals and Orthodox: Crossing Paths and Crossing Swords
- From Evangelical to Orthodox by Fr. Gregory Rogers
- O Great Mystery: The website of an evangelical parish that became Orthodox
- Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism: The Status of an Emerging Global Dialogue - Bradley Nassif, Ph.D. (Professor, Antiochian House of Studies (USA), a graduate program of St. John of Damascus Seminary, Balamand University, Lebanon). Published in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology: Vol. 1, Spring, 2000. (mirror)