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The Brick Church and the Rise of Liberal Evangelicalism in New York
October 16, 2016 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am EDT
In the late 19th century, the Christian churches of New York confronted unprecedented challenges: an increasingly diverse city, growing extremes of wealth and poverty, declining church attendance and membership – all which may sound familiar today. In response, the Brick Presbyterian Church took the lead in developing something its advocates came to call ‘liberal evangelicalism’ – a form of evangelical Christianity tailored for the challenges of the age but also faithful to the evangelical message. This revitalizing movement sought to locate the saving message of Christianity in everything from art to soup kitchens, and led Henry van Dyke to both decide the King James Bible was the Bible for him, and to reform the liturgical practices of the Brick Church, all in an effort to save Christianity in the city. Dr. Matthew Bowman speaks on this topic in this presentation. Dr. Bowman is an associate professor of history at Henderson State University in Arkansas. He is the author or editor of two books on Mormonism and the book The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism (Oxford, 2014), as well as a number of articles on topics as wide ranging as Bigfoot folklore, the history of the Sunday school, and the play Angels in America.