A panel of Brethren scholars will discuss the influence of evangelicalism on the Church of the Brethren on Thursday, March 19, at Bridgewater College. The session, which will consider the impact of modern, mainstream evangelicalism on a fellowship with deep roots in Anabaptism and Pietism, will take place in the Boitnott Room, at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
Panelists are Carl Desportes Bowman, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia; Josh Brockway, Congregational Life Ministries, Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministries Board; and Karen Garrett, coordinator of assessment, Bethany Theological Seminary.
Bowman will speak on “Evangelicalism Among Members: The Brethren Member Profile Revisited.” Brockway’s topic is “The Brethren Are Hip,” and Garrett will discuss “Hitchhiking in the Middle of the Road: A Brethren Approach to Evangelicalism.”
Evangelicalism, or born-again faith, was part of the Brethren from their birth more than 300 years ago in Germany, but it always co-existed with a distinctive commitment to nonconformity in a wide variety of beliefs and practices.
“Recently, however, Brethren outsiderness has almost disappeared while evangelicalism has increased significantly,” said Stephen Longenecker, the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of History at Bridgewater College. “The panel will ponder the impact of this shift.”
The sponsor of the event is Bridgewater College’s Forum for Brethren Studies, whose mission is to encourage scholarship on the Bridgewater campus and within the Church of the Brethren, especially on Brethren heritage.