Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and Expanded Edition

Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and Expanded Edition

2004 | 793 Pages | ISBN: 193279204X | PDF | 6 MB

The Evangelical Movement has, in recent years, struggled with its identity, to the point that the theme of the 2002 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society was "Evangelical Boundaries." Even the most recent edition of the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology notes that, "The very nature of evangelicalism never was a unified movement but a collection of emphases based on a common core of belief ¬-a core that itself is now under discussion" (Dictionary of Evangelical Theology, Walter A. Elwell, ed. [Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2nd edition, 2001], p. 409).Seeking to detail those various "emphases" the author of this work admits to a "quixotic venture" in which he attempts to "provide a sense of both the history and the extraordinary breadth of this popular movement" (vii). And while parts of his effort are admirable, on the whole this work is a disappointing muddle that confuses rather than clarifies the nature of evangelicalism.Properly speaking the muddle begins with the very title, this work is not properly an "encyclopedia" the author admits that he alone is responsible for all of the articles (although he admits assistance from several individuals); nor is it "encyclopedic" in nature; the articles often reflect outdated or incorrect information and the bibliographic well from which the articles are drawn is very limited.The problems with this work range from typographical to methodological, but clearly the underlying problem is the author's inability to accurately define the evangelical movement. There are actually more articles related to American fundamentalism than evangelicalism; and while the two are certainly related, they are not identical movements.In terms of layout the book lacks both indexes and useful bibliographies. Articles often have no bibliographic support at all and others have only a single reference. The editing is also problematic. Charles H. Spurgeon's named is rendered "Surgeon" (177) and Alva J. McClain is rendered "McLain" (249). Some articles reflect incomplete or outdated information, such as the entry for the Evangelical Theological Society (201-202) where the quotation of the doctrinal statement fails to note the addition of the affirmation of the Trinity added several years ago. When references are cited, they are generally dated; for instance the entry for Grace Theological Seminary (249) cites the catalogue for 1995. The entry for Jack Hayford (274) makes no mention of the creation of a seminary under his leadership, although this occurred over five years ago. In fact, except for repeated references to another book by the author (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, 2000) only a few bibliographic references are dated after 1995. Theological omissions are also noted. In the entry for T. D. Jakes (300), no mention is made of his anti-trinitarianism and other non-evangelical theology.Beyond these issues some of the actual entry selections almost defy explanation. For example there is an entry for Trent Dilfer (176) containing a nice recitation of his career in the National Football League along with a rather innocuous quotation related to Christianity. Interestingly enough the entry for Dilfer is given more space than that for the Second Coming of Christ (515). The entry on the Overhead Projector (432) is one of the more odd inclusions of this work. Lengthy entries are reserved for several Christian Rock bands such as Third Day (576), Stryper (558), Newsboys (408-09) and Jars of Clay (301-02). This work cannot be recommended as reference for evangelicalism. It is a eccletic and non-cohesive collection of one author's idiosyncratic caricature of evangelicalism, poorly crafted and even more poorly executed.

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