Matthew Bowman masterfully brings a host of religious activists to life, including Sunday school teachers, preachers, reformers, and revivalists. Their cacophonous voices shaped the contours of faith in progressive-era New York City and across the nation. This beautifully written, well-researched, lively, and smart book challenges what we think we know about American Protestant liberalism, evangelicalism, and the relationship between the two.
-Matthew Avery Sutton
With impeccable research and clear prose, Matthew Bowman recreates the world of late-nineteenth-century New York Protestantism, rooting both modernists and conservatives in a common evangelical attempt to adapt to the new culture of urban America and find a way to Christianize what had become to them a foreign environment.
-John G. Turner,
University of South Alabama
Fundamentalists loom large in the telling of American religious history today, and under their shadow liberalism is often portrayed as a tepid and secularized version of the evangelical tradition, a capitulation to the modern world. This cogent and well-written book shows us something new, an emerging liberal Protestant style that still maintained ties to the old evangelical understanding of salvation and transformation, but in a framework developed to speak to the diverse social realities of turn-of-the-century American culture. Bowman's book is a solid and much-needed exploration of the subtleties of modern Protestantism.