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American Religion

Past and Future Trends in Churches of Christ History

When: June 9, 2023, 9:00 am - Friday

Where: Yarnton

Session 6

Session Abstract

Since the 1960s, Churches of Christ historiography has undergone a renaissance. Professional historians have become commonplace in universities affiliated with Churches of Christ, and these historians have advanced various interpretations of this religious movement. This panel provides a state-of-the-field synopsis by focusing on several key areas of historical research and reflecting on fruitful areas of future historical work.


Paper Abstracts

Douglas A. Foster, Abilene Christian University, “Historiography of Churches of Christ since the 1960s”

Over the past half century, professional historians and amateurs alike have produced a host of monographs, articles, and booklets with historical interpretations of Churches of Christ. They range from magisterial scholarly works—sometimes embedded in larger studies of the Stone-Campbell movement—to studies focused on specific groups or individuals, to popular articles in religious journals. Each inevitably reflects both useful historical content and the theological commitments of the author or authors. This paper is an attempt to categorize and analyze this complex body of literature.


Lorretta M. Hunnicutt, Pepperdine University, “Historiography of Women in Churches of Christ” 

The historiography of women in the Churches of Christ has evolved from almost complete omission in the historical record to a growing focus on the key contributions women have made to the growth and success of most churches.  This paper will highlight major themes in the approaches to studying women in the Churches of Christ, noting an evolution from initially emphasizing only a few (if any) prominent women such as Silena Holman and Margaret Lipscomb to noting the more widespread contributions of women (though much remains to be excavated about women’s key influence in Churches of Christ).


Edward J. Robinson, Texas College, “Historiography of African Americans Churches of Christ”

The historiography of African American Churches of Christ delineates how students and historians have labored to trace the origins and development of this faith tradition.  The body of literary works of the history of black Churches of Christ is small, but growing.  Much work remains to be done on this religious fellowship.


James L. Gorman, Johnson University, Convener

  • Douglas A. Foster, Abilene Christian University, “Historiography of Churches of Christ since the 1960s”
  • Loretta Hunnicutt, Pepperdine University, “Historiography of Women in Churches of Christ”
  • Edward J. Robinson, Texas College, “Historiography of African Americans Churches of Christ”
  • Corey Markum, Freed-Hardeman University, Respondent

Join us in 2024!

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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