From Thomas Jefferson to Martin Luther King, Jr. and beyond, great leaders of American democracy have drawn from the Bible to inspire their vision of a society with liberty and justice for all.

But how did the founders’ understandings of the Bible shape our democracy? What is the role and place of the Bible in our society today?

In October 2013, American Bible Society and Wheaton College hosted a public gathering of scholars, students, clergy and laypersons who engaged in a dynamic, provocative conversation on the role

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Keep the conversation going at #BibleInAmerica!

and place of the Bible in America — past, present and future.

To frame this conversation, some of America’s leading voices were assembled.We invite you to take a look at a highlights video now and participate in the conversation at #BibleInAmerica

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Barrows Auditorium,
Wheaton College
500 College Avenue, Wheaton, Illinois 60187

Friday, October 25, 2013
The Bible in America: Not an Icon on a Wall but an Animator of Civil Life

A Conversation with Martin E. Marty

Saturday, October 26, 2013
Roundtable discussion: “Freedom, and Separation of Church and State: Then and Now”


Edith Blumhofer, Vincent Bacote, Catherine Brekus, Jennifer Powell McNutt and Patrick Lannen.

Roundtable discussion: “Engaging the Bible, Engaging Democracy: Interpreting Biblical Texts in the Public Square”


Henry Lee Allen, Amy Black, Lillian Daniel, Father George Smiga and Matt Vaselkiv

A Q&A with the audience was followed by a closing speech by Martin Marty.

Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School.An ordained Lutheran pastor and author of thousands of articles and over 60 books, he is arguably the most prominent public intellectual of religion and America.

Vincent E. Bacote

Vincent E. Bacote is associate professor of theology and the director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College. He is author of The Spirit in Public Theology: Appropriating the Legacy of Abraham Kuyper, and has contributed to several books including Prophetic Evangelicals (2012).

Catherine Brekus

Catherine Brekus is associate professor of American religious history at the University of Chicago. Her most recent book is Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelicalism in Early America, about the early evangelical movement based on an eighteenth-century woman’s manuscript diaries.


Jennifer Powell McNutt is an associate professor of theology and history of Christianity in the Biblical and Theological Studies Department at Wheaton College. She is author of Calvin Meets Voltaire: The Clergy of Geneva in the Age of Enlightenment, 1685-1798 (2013)

Lillian Daniel

Lillian Daniel is senior minister of the First Congregational Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She is the author of three books, the most recent of which is the highly acclaimed When "Spiritual But Not Religious" Is Not Enough.

Henry Lee Allen

Henry Lee Allen is professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wheaton College. He has published numerous articles about sociology, ethnicity, and American higher education.

Timothy Beal

Timothy Beal is Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University and Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts (in progress). He has published 13 books, including The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.

Father George Smiga

Father George Smiga is the pastor of St. Noel Catholic Church in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, and a professor of Scripture and homiletics at St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, Ohio.He is the creator of, a website about Scripture, culture, and faith.

Amy E. Black

Amy E. Black is associate professor of political science at Wheaton College. Her latest projects include Honoring God in Red or Blue: Approaching Politics with Humility, Grace, and Reason (Moody, 2012), and Religion and American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives.

Edith Blumhofer

Edith Blumhofer is professor of history at Wheaton College and directs the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE). She is writing Evangelicalism: A Very Short Introduction for Oxford University Press and researching three nineteenth-century British hymn writers for a book to be published by Paulist Press.

Matt Vaselkiv

Matt Vaselkiv is a senior at Wheaton College pursuing a degree in biblical and theological studies with a minor in political science.

Patrick Lannen

Patrick Lannen is a senior at Wheaton College where he is a double major in biblical archaeology and biblical and theological studies.