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As a trans-denominational movement, evangelicalism occurs in nearly every Protestant denomination and tradition.The Reformed, Baptist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal, Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, charismatic Protestant, and nondenominational Protestant traditions have all had strong influence within contemporary evangelicalism.The movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.Its origins are usually traced to 1738, with various theological streams contributing to its foundation, including English Methodism, the Moravian Church (in particular its bishop Nicolaus Zinzendorf and his community at Herrnhut), and German Lutheran Pietism.The United States has the largest concentration of evangelicals in the world.Based mostly in the Bible Belt, US evangelicals are a quarter of the nation's population and politically important.

This is understood most commonly in terms of a substitutionary atonement, in which Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by taking on himself the guilt and punishment for sin.

In the English-speaking world, evangelical was commonly applied to describe the series of revival movements that occurred in Britain and North America during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Christian historian David Bebbington writes that, "Although 'evangelical', with a lower-case initial, is occasionally used to mean 'of the gospel', the term 'Evangelical', with a capital letter, is applied to any aspect of the movement beginning in the 1730s." The term may also be used outside any religious context to characterize a generic missionary, reforming, or redeeming impulse or purpose.

Such movements have been classified by a variety of labels, such as progressive, open, post-conservative, and post-evangelical.

Fundamentalism arose among evangelicals in the 1920s to combat modernist or liberal theology in mainline Protestant churches.

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