Prof. Ken Stewart Co-Edits Book on Evangelicalism
Dr. Ken Stewart, professor of theological studies at Covenant College, co-edited and contributed to the book The Advent of Evangelicalism: Exploring Historical Continuities, published by B&H Academic and available October 15, 2008.
The book is a collection of essays responding to Dr. David Bebbington's 1989 book Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, which argues that transatlantic evangelical Protestantism originated in the eighteenth century.
"I know and respect Dr. Bebbington," says Stewart. "But I found this argument very problematic.... If evangelical Protestantism did not, in fact, have a long and honorable pedigree, it could be written off as just a phase of Christianity which had already seen better days."
Stewart read a conference paper in 2001 on the subject, and many expressed support for his view that evangelical Christianity has roots "at least as old as the Protestant Reformation." The discussion grew from there, and Stewart and his fellow editor Michael Haykin eventually compiled this collection of essays by eighteen different contributors. In Stewart's words, the book explores the "evidence that the powerful upsurge in evangelical Protestantism in the period we call the ‘Great Awakening' (1730 and beyond) stood in very strong continuity with Reformation Christianity, Puritanism and Pietism, which had characterized the preceding two hundred years."
"It is always good," he says, "to help students see that the stream of Christianity in which we stand, at Covenant College, is part of a much larger and wider whole."
Stewart sees The Advent of Evangelicalism as a resource for Christian leaders and college and seminary students, and notes that the material is applicable to courses he teaches, such as "The History and Expansion of Christianity."