Evangelical historians making inroads at universities





In 1993, Michael Weiskopf wrote an article for The Washington Post in which he described evangelicals in the United States as "poor, uneducated, and easy to command." Although the comment provoked outrage from evangelicals, Weiskopf's assertion was not without merit. At the time, only 15 percent of evangelicals held college or graduate degrees. Even though religious conservatives dominated higher education at the turn of the 20th century, by 1993 they had lost their influence within the academy.

Yet on campuses across the country, evangelicalism is rebounding. Evangelical students make up larger and larger portions of the incoming classes at Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. ...

At the same time, evangelical scholarship has become part of the intellectual mainstream. Harvard Divinity School now has a privately funded chair in evangelical theological studies. In subjects such as history and philosophy, evangelical scholars have become central figures within their fields. Alvin Plantinga, a graduate and onetime faculty member of evangelical Calvin College, has served as president of the central division of the American Philosophical Association. The historian George M. Marsden won the Bancroft Prize in 2004 for his critically acclaimed biography of Jonathan Edwards. Evangelical scholars have become particularly noticeable in disciplines that address religious questions, but respected scholars in other fields have been coming forward in recent years to talk about their evangelical faith. The most conspicuous example is Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who wrote the best-selling The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006)....


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