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The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of the Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys

Noll points out one of the major pitfalls of the movement; he quotes a Marxist historian who on commenting about William Wilberforce observed, “Wilberforce was familiar with all that went on in the hold of the slave ship but ignored what went on at the bottom of the mineshaft.” The evangelical movement has historically and continues to overlook many social problems. One of the most important insights by Noll is observed about intellectual effort. “The emphasis on conversion and on the active presence of the Holy Spirit has led at least some evangelicals to deny the value of intellectual effort itself.”

The book is rich with critical insights and I gained greater respect for the beginnings of the evangelical movement. I look forward to the upcoming volumes in this series.

Reviewed by John R. Belcher

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Spring 2006

About the Author: John R. Belcher, MDiv (Lexington Theological Seminary), MSW (University of Kentucky), PhD (Ohio State University), has served as a pastor and a psychiatric social worker. He has been teaching at the University of Maryland for more than 25 years, he teaches part time at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, and he also practices part time as a pastoral counselor. John and his family fellowship at a local United Methodist Church.

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