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Where do we fit into the Christian story?

American Christians tend to "identify with a particular period of church history — say, the early church, or medieval Catholicism and the rise of religious orders, or the Reformation," says Dr. Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College. Eskridge has produced a series of 30-minute videos aimed at providing viewers a basic, big-picture understanding of the historical development of American Christianity. Resources for American Christianity, a website that helps leaders and participants in Christian communities better understand the impact and trends of Christianity in American society, interviewed Eskridge and archived the transcript. Typically, Eskridge says, denominational affiliation  causes Christians to root their identity in a moment of the church's past, causing a gap in understanding how one is connected to the broader history of America's Christian tradition. "So we thought the basic educational purpose was to bring folks up to speed with some of the basic facts, important questions, and trends in American church history" in a way that would help individuals "recognize where they and their tradition fit into the story."

 

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