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Evangelical Evolution: 5 Key Events for Christian Denomination Since It Began

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The evangelical movement originated within Protestantism and is rooted in the concept of salvation through atonement, or ultimately, an individual's faith. Evangelical Christians believe in being "born again" and in the Bible as God's words.

The Evangelical movement has evolved over centuries. Here are five  events in its history:

1. A growing belief in evolutionary theory and what A Study of Denominations calls "higher criticism" have threatened to weaken the belief in the Biblical account of creation and history. This progressive movement began in the late 1800s and spawned fundamentalism, an offshoot of "mainline" Evangelicalism, in the early 1900s.

2. For nearly 20 years from 1919-37, internal battles were waged in northern states over control of the Northern Baptist and the Northern Presbyterian denominations. Though evangelical fundamentalists wanted unity across the factions, they fought for the inclusion of statements relating to their core evangelical convictions, namely: The word of God as truth, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and his bodily resurrection, according to the Gospel Coalition.

3. The National Association of Evangelicals was formed in 1942 as a response to pastor Harold John Ockenga's call for "neo-evangelicalism." Broad in scope, the group initially included Pentecostal and Holiness groups and independent ministries in addition to evangelical denominationalists, according to the NAE website.

4. The magazine Christianity Today was founded in 1956 by Evangelical legend Billy Graham, who tapped Carl F.H. Henry as its first editor-in-chief. Henry was on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. The magazine's intent was to champion evangelical Christianity and oppose the more liberal Christian Century. Henry also authored several books, including the six-volume set titled "God, Revelation, and Authority," finished in 1983.

5. Graham's impact on modern evangelicalism can't be overstated. The now 96-year-old American evangelical Christian is a Southern Baptist minister who appealed to middle-class, moderately conservative Protestants. He presided over large gatherings, and his sermons were broadcast on radio and television.


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