History Scholar to Discuss Christian Ecumenical-Evangelical Divide at Forum


    Dr. David A. Hollinger, an expert on American intellectual history, speaks on “Global Christianity and the Ecumenical-Evangelical Divide” this month at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church.
    “The ecumenical-evangelical divide in American Protestantism is more significant than ever as a result of the increasing influence of the Global South on what counts as Christian witness in the North Atlantic West,” says Hollinger. “The recent quarrels within the United Methodist Church about same-sex relationships dramatize a portentous consequence of treating of Protestant denominational bodies as global, rather than national or regional. The Methodists from the Global South are decidedly more conservative on LGBTQ and other issues than are the bulk of the Methodists in the United States. The new strength for conservative Christianity presents several challenges to the more classically liberal, ecumenical Protestants affiliated with the National Council of Churches.”
    Well equipped to discuss the controversies of these issues, Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor Emeritus of History at UC Berkeley.  He specializes in the intellectual and ethnic racial history of the United States since the Civil War and is past president of the Organization of American Historians.   
    He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and American Academy of Arts and Science and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He received his BA from La Verne College and his Ph.D from UC Berkeley.
    Hollinger has authored seven books including Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America and After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History. Along with UC Berkeley, he has taught at the University of Michigan, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Oxford.
    “This is a rare opportunity to hear a professor speak on the state of religion in the country today,” says Nancy Holtzapple, chair of FFF.  “Come with your questions and bring a friend.”
    The talk is May 3 in the sanctuary at 1:30 p.m. with refreshments served in Fellowship Hall at 1 p.m. Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church is at 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette. Admission is free.

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