A Patterned Life: Faith, History, and David Bebbington

Thomas Kidd | September 14, 2015

A Patterned Life: Faith, History, and David Bebbingtonis Eileen Bebbington’s biography of her husband, David, whom I’d rank as one of the three most influential evangelical historians of the past 40 years, along with George Marsden and Mark Noll. I’m blessed to count David as a mentor and friend, so I will dispense with any pretense of objectivity in this review.

The English-born Bebbington has spent his teaching career at Scotland’s University of Stirling. His influence has sprung from three overlapping factors: his study of evangelicalism, his personal friendships across the evangelical world, and his credentials as a world-class historian by anyone’s standards—secular or Christian. The last point is one that Christians too often neglect: a vital Christian witness requires that certain Christians establish themselves as thought leaders in ways secular observers can readily understand.

Thus, as a Cambridge-trained historian, much of Bebbington’s scholarly output has been with major academic presses, including his seminal political and intellectual history, The Mind of Gladstone (Oxford, 2004). His scholarly productivity has made him an invaluable member of the faculty at Stirling, and enabled him to produce an impressive cadre of PhD students who teach at institutions from Wheaton College to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Bebbington is best…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-reviews-a-patterned-life-bebbington.