Christopher H. Evans

Professor of History of Christianity and Methodist Studies
(617) 353-3272
AB Syracuse University
M.Div Boston University School of Theology
Ph.D. Northwestern University (in the joint program with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)

Dr. Evans came to STH in 2010 after several years on the faculty of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School where he served as professor of church history. His teaching and scholarship focuses on the history of Christianity, American religion, United Methodist history, and ministry studies. He is the author of several books, articles, and reviews including, The Faith of Fifty Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture (co-edited with William R. Herzog II), The Kingdom is Always but Coming: a Life of Walter Rauschenbusch that received an Award of Merit for the best work in history/biography from Christianity Today magazine, Liberalism without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian Tradition, and Histories of American Christianity: an Introduction. His latest book, The Social Gospel in American Religion was recently published by New York University Press. An ordained elder in the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Dr. Evans has lectured, preached, and taught in numerous church and professional settings and been a presenter at several academic conferences.


“Do Everything Woman: The Biography of Frances E. Willard (under contract, Oxford University Press).

The Social Gospel in American Religion, a History. New York: New York University Press, 2017.

The Histories of American Christianity: An Introduction. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2013.

Liberalism Without Illusions: Renewing an American Christian Tradition. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010.

The Kingdom Is Always but Coming: a Life of Walter Rauschenbusch. Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.  Reprint edition, Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010.  –Award of Merit recipient, Christianity Today(2005).

Co-Editor (with William R. Herzog II), The Faith of Fifty Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

Editor, The Social Gospel Today. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

Editor, Perspectives on the Social Gospel: Papers from the Inaugural Social Gospel Conference at Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.

Social Gospel Liberalism and the Ministry of Ernest Fremont Tittle: a Theology for the Middle Class. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1996.  –Jesse Lee Prize winner for best monograph on American Methodist History.

Book Chapters

“The Social Gospel, The YMCA, and the Emergence of the Religious Left after World War I,” in The Religious Left in Modern America: Doorkeepers of a Radical Faith, edited by Leilah Danielson, Marian Mollin, and Doug Rossinow, 41-60. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

“Engaging the ‘Public/Private’ Split: United Methodism and Lessons from the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy,” in United of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness, 193-210. Nashville: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, 2017.

“Walter Rauschenbusch and the Second Coming: the Social Gospel as Baptist History,” in Through a Glass Darkly: Uses and Misuses of Baptist History, Keith Harper, ed. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2012.

“Wesleyan Tradition.” The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America, Philip K. Goff, ed. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

“Public Theology and Economic Equality: Reconsidering Walter Rauschenbusch’s Christianizing the Social Order.” Introduction for reprint edition of Rauschenbusch, Christianizing the Social Order. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010.

“Baseball as Civil Religion: The Genesis of an American Creation Story.” The Faith of Fifty Million. Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

“The Kingdom of Baseball in America: The Chronicle of an American Theology.” The Faith of Fifty Million.

“Historical Integrity and Theological Recovery: A Re-Introduction to the Social Gospel.” The Social Gospel Today.Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

“Toward a New Social Gospel?” The Social Gospel Today.

“Defining the Target: Perspectives on the Social Gospel.” Perspectives on the Social Gospel. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.

Articles (Journals-Periodicals)

“The Noblest Ideals of Service”: Sister Jeanie Banks’ Sojourn in London’s East End, 1888-1893, Methodist History 56 (July 2018): 197-210.

“Forum: The Role and Future of Academic Journals,” Religion and American Culture 25 (Summer, 2015): 156-163.

“Reflections on the Methodist Historical Pie: Re-engaging the Puzzle of American Methodism,” Methodist Review 7(2015): 1-20.

“The Social Gospel as ‘the Total Message of the Christian Salvation,” Church History 84 (March 2015): 196-198.

“Ties That Bind: Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, and the Quest for Economic Justice,” in Soundings: an Interdisciplinary Journal 95 (November 2012): 351-369.

“A Home for Methodism in America–and for Me,” in Focus (Winter 2012), 14-21.

“Rethinking Classroom Diversity: Three Student Cultures in a Mainline Seminary,” Teaching Theology and Religion 10(October 2007): 223-230.

“Gender and the Kingdom of God: The Family Values of Walter Rauschenbusch,” American Baptist Quarterly 19 (December 2000): 352-368.

“History and Theology in the American Methodist Social Gospel: The Public/Private Split Revisited,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 35 (Fall 2000): 159-178.

“Reclaiming an Ecumenical Vision for the 21st Century: The Gospel in an Age of Ambiguity,”  American Baptist Quarterly 19 (June 2000): 154-163.

“From Militant Methodism to Secularized Christianity: The Place of the Social Gospel in American Methodist History,”Methodist History 38 (April, 2000):147-159.

“Knowing Our Stories: Towards a New Paradigm of United Methodist History,” The Quarterly Review 19 (Fall, 1999): 237-252.

“The Social Gospel as Pastoral Ministry: The Example of Ernest Fremont Tittle,” Methodist History 35 (April 1997):135-147.

“Where Did Our Hope Go?” The Christian Ministry (December 1995).

“Rediscovering Grace in an Impossible Calling,” The Christian Ministry (January 1994).

“Beware the Black Hole!” The Christian Ministry (January/February 1988).

Articles (Reference Volumes)

“Methodism,” The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark A. Lamport, 1496-1507. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

“Walter Rauschenbusch,” Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume IV. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

“Walter Rauschenbusch,” Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. Bristol, England: Thoemmes Press, 2005.

“The Social Gospel,” Encyclopedia of Protestantism, ed. Hans J. Hillerbrand. New York: Routledge, 2003.

“Georgia Harkness,” Encyclopedia of New York State. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2003.

“Robert Payne” and “James Mudge,” The American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Miscellaneous Publications and Blogs (Selected):

“How the Social Gospel Movement Explains the Roots of Today’s Religious Left,” The Conversation, July 2017.

“Why you should know about the New Thought movement,” The Conversation, February 2017.

“Hillary Clinton’s Benediction,” in PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, November 11, 2016.

“United Methodists in Tampa: Looking for Scapegoats, Living in Fear,” in Huffington Post May 7, 2012,

“Civil Religion and Populist Angst,” in PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, January 28, 2010.  (

“Grassroots Faith: The Lessons of the Social Gospel,” in Religion Dispatches, May 5, 2009. (

Reviews (Selected)

Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelicals in the Progressive Era by Priscilla Pope-Levison in Methodist History 55(July 2017):278-79.

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice by Brantley W. Gasaway in Church History 85(March 2016):207-209.

Transatlantic Methodists: British Wesleyanism and the Formation of an Evangelical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec by Todd Webb in The University of Toronto Quarterly 84(Summer 2015):165-167.

The Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century, by Matthew S. Hedstrom in Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 83(March 2014): 251-253.

Georgia Harkness: the Remaking of a Liberal Theologian, ed. R. Miles in Modern Believing: the Journal of Theological Liberalism 53 (January 2012): 97-99.

Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics and Social Justice, by Gary Dorrien in The Journal of Church and State 53 (Spring 2011): 315-317.

The Methodist Experience in America: a History By Russell Richey et al, in Methodist History 49 (April 2011): 179-180.

Populist Saints: B.T. and Ellen Roberts and the First Free Methodists, by Howard Snyder in Church History 76 (September 2007):655-657.

America Heretic: Theodore Parker and Transcendentalism, by Dean Grodzins in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 73 (Summer 2005): 926-928.

Experimental Americans: Celo and Utopian Community in the Twentieth Century, by George L. Hicks, in The Christian Century, December 4-17, 2002.

The Puritan as Yankee: a Life of Horace Bushnell, by Robert Bruce Mullin, in The Christian Century, November 6-19, 2002.

Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture, by Daniel Sack, in The Christian Century, January 3-10, 2001.

Direct Action: Radical Pacifism from the Union Eight to the Chicago Seven, by James Tracy, in Church History 66 (December 1997): 906-907.

Cults in Context: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements, by Lorne L. Dawson, in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65 (Winter 1997):885-887.

Writing Out My Heart: Selections from the Journal of Frances Willard, ed. Carolyn DeSwarte Gifford, in Church History66 (June 1997): 391-392.

Roads to Rome: The Antebellum Encounter with Catholicism, by Jenny Franchot, in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 64 ( Fall 1996): 705-708.

The Lost Promise of Progressivism, by Eldon J. Eisenach, in The Christian Century, March 22-29, 1995.

Academic Papers/Panels/Lectures (Selected)

“Walter Rauschenbusch: The Soul of the Social Gospel,” The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch Conference, Mercer University, Atlanta, Ga, April 2018.

“The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch,” The 35th Annual Stanley I. Stuber Lectures, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, April 3-4, 2018.

“‘This Work Cannot be Done by Proxy’: Methodist Women and the Transatlantic Deaconess Movement,” University of Manchester/Liverpool Hope University session, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, Boston, MA, November 2017.

“Righteous Idealism: The Legacy of the Social Gospel Movement in America,” The 44th Annual Henry Barton Robison Lecture, Culver-Stockton College, March 2016.

“The Social Gospel and the Civil Rights Movement,” The Social Justice Institute (with the Howard Thurman Center and Boston University School of Theology), August 2015.

“The Social Gospel in Transatlantic Context,” Public Lecture sponsored by the Department of Religion and Theology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, March 2014.

“Christianity in the 21st Century: Churches in Crisis,” The Ruth Pauley Lecture Series, Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC, October 2013.

“Beyond Supernaturalism: American Christianity and the Impact of Theological Liberalism,” presented at the George Bell House, Chichester, England, September 2013.

“Do We Still Need a Social Gospel?” Annual Winter Refresher lectures at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, SK February 2013.

“Ties that Bind: the Christian Economics of Walter Rauschenbusch and Reinhold Niebuhr,” The Niebuhr Society, the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, San Francisco, California, November 2011.

“For God and Glory: the Religion of Sports,” 29th Annual Spiritual Life Institute, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, Washington, June 2011.

“What Would Walter Want?: Walter Rauschenbusch and the Future of Religious Progressivism,” spring lecture sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Department of Religious Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, March 2009.

“American Wesleyanism: a Tradition in Search of a Historiography,” The United Methodist Church at 40 Consultation, Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA, August 2008.

Baseball: an American Religion?” Founders Annual Lecture on Comparative Religion and Contemporary Life, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, March 2007.

“Meet the author” panel for The Kingdom is Always but Coming: a Life of Walter Rauschenbusch, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting, Rochester, NY, November 2005.

Panel chair, “Rochester Religion and Social Reform,” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting, November 2005.

“Historical Studies and the Future of Theological Education,” St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, MO, March 2004.

“The Historical Significance of Walter Rauschenbusch.” Pacific School of Religion Public Lecture, March 2004.

“The Social Gospel: Then and Now.” Asian-American Pastors Consortium at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, CA., March 2004.

Panel discussion of book, Faith of Fifty Million: Baseball: Religion, and American Culture, Christopher H. Evans and William R. Herzog, ed. sponsored by the Religion and Popular Culture section, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, Toronto, Ontario, November 2002.

“‘Children Misread Their Parents’: Gender, the Social Gospel, and the Family Ties of Walter and Winifred Rauschenbusch,” American Society of Church History winter meeting, Boston, MA., January 2001.

“Historical Perspectives on Women in the Church and in the World,” Baptist Missionary Training School Homecoming Week Lecture, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, June 2000.