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For example, the Times Literary Supplement refers to "the rise and fall of evangelical fervor within the Socialist movement".Bebbington notes four distinctive aspects of evangelical faith: conversionism, biblicism, crucicentrism, and activism, noting, "Together they form a quadrilateral of priorities that is the basis of Evangelicalism." Conversionism, or belief in the necessity of being "born again", has been a constant theme of evangelicalism since its beginnings.Activism describes the tendency toward active expression and sharing of the gospel in diverse ways that include preaching and social action.This aspect of evangelicalism continues to be seen today in the proliferation of evangelical voluntary religious groups and parachurch organizations.In the early 20th century, there was a decline of evangelical influence within mainline Protestantism and the development of Christian fundamentalism as a distinct religious movement.During the second half of the century, a mainstream evangelical consensus developed that sought to be more inclusive and more culturally relevant than fundamentalism, while maintaining conservative Protestant teaching.
Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or the "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.
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.
A conversion experience can be emotional, including grief and sorrow for sin followed by great relief at receiving forgiveness.
The stress on conversion differentiates evangelicalism from other forms of Protestantism by the associated belief that an assurance of salvation will accompany conversion.