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Title: Response
Author(s): Bebbington, David William
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Editor(s): Haykin, MAG
Stewart, KJ
Citation: Bebbington DW (2008) Response. In: Haykin M & Stewart K (eds.) The Emergence of Evangelicalism: Exploring Historical Continuities. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, pp. 417-432.
Issue Date: 2008
Date Deposited: 13-Mar-2013
Abstract: First paragraph: The novelist William Hale White, who specialised in depicting the English Dissenting tradition from which he sprang, was acutely aware of the processes of change that had moulded it over time. In his book The Revolution in Tanner's Lane (1887), Hale White recounts a sermon by Thomas Bradshaw, the minister of a London meeting house at the start of the nineteenth century who claimed descent from the family of a Puritan regicide and who himself upheld the full range of Calvinist belief. The sermon, on Jephthah's daughter, a moving but sternly cerebral discourse, asserts the doctrine of absolute predestination. It was, says the author, 'utterly unlike the simple stuff which became fashionable with the Evangelistic movement'. The book is designed to lay bare what Hale White sees as the decay of the Dissenting interest. Dissenters had once upheld Puritan views that were, in the author's eyes, totally untenable, but they had done so with admirable consistency. However, the 'Evangelistic movement', by which the author means the Evangelical Revival, had combined with subtle social influences to rob them of their inheritance. By the 1840s, as he goes on to suggest, they were shallow, affected gentility and lacked intellectual rigour. For this jaundiced observer of the impact of Evangelicalism, the movement was partly responsible for a transformation in the Dissenting tradition that left it impoverished. That was part of what he was portraying as a revolution in Tanner's Lane.
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