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Collection 082 Records of the Conference on Faith and History

Identifier: CN 082

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, newsletters, minutes of meetings, transcripts of sessions, brochures, clippings, etc., of the Conference on Faith and History formed for evangelical Christian historians. The records in this collection consist mainly of the correspondence on the Secretary-Treasurer, with a few other items such as the CFH's newsletter, some of the minutes of the executive committee, a few mailings and membership lists, brochures, reports, the constitution and by-laws, and a miscellaneous of records from various meetings held by the Conference.


  • Created: 1966-1978

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

In the mid 1960s, evangelical Christian historians began to feel a need for some kind of professional association or regular meetings, which would give them an opportunity for fellowship and the exchange of ideas. Professor Earle E. Cairns, Howard Rienstra and others helped to organized luncheons or breakfasts for evangelicals during the regular December conventions of the American Historical Association (AHA). These meetings were known as the Association of Evangelical Historians (AEH). Some schools planned conferences on topics of interest, such as the 1966 Malone Seminar on Christianity and History, and the 1967 Greenville College Conference on the Historical Heritage of American Protestantism.

In November of 1966, Professors Richard Millet of Southern Illinois University, Richard Pierard of Indiana State University and Robert Clouse of Indiana State University met, after sounding out other schools by mail and through conversations, to discuss plans for a permanent organization. In December of the same year, a larger meeting was held in New York during the AHA convention. The name Conference on Faith and History (CFH) was suggested and a draft of a statement of purpose prepared. This statement of purpose was virtually identical with the one finally incorporated in CFH's constitution in 1968. The final statement of purpose read:

"The purpose of this organization is: To encourage evangelical Christian scholars to explore the relationship of their faith to historical studies. To provide a forum for discussion of philosophies of history and to survey current scholarship and foster research in the general area of faith and history. To establish more effective means of interaction between historians associated with religiously oriented and non-sectarian institutions of higher learning."

Also at the December 1966 meeting, Richard Pierard was appointed temporary secretary-treasurer. He was later elected to the office and held it continually from 1967. In April of 1967, a second group of overlapping membership with the December group met at the Palmer House in Chicago, during the convention of the Organization of American Historians (OAH). Committees were established, plans made to publish a bulletin, dues agreed on, and an announcement on the organization prepared. At the 1967 Greenville Conference, which the CFH co-sponsored, the CFH was publicly launched and people were invited to join. Provisional officers were appointed and Robert Linder of Kansas State University began to function as editor of the Conference's Bulletin, Fides et Historia, which at first was published by Letourneau College. In 1968, officers were elected and a constitution adopted.

The CFH held an annual meeting in the autumn on some topic of interest to Christian historians. It also sponsored an annual breakfast of luncheon meeting during the AHA convention. Beside Fides et Historia, which published scholarly articles, a newsletter was also published, starting in February 1973. This newsletter contained announcements of meetings, lists of new members, personnel changes, positions available, news notes, etc. Another publication of the CFH was God and Caesar: Case Studies in the Relationship Between Christianity and the State, published by Letourneau Press in 1971.


Two meetings to explore the possibility of an organization for historians, who were also committed Christians, were held in New York City on December 29, 1966, and Chicago April 28, 1967. Plans for the formation of the CFH were announced at the Conference on the Historical Heritage of American Protestantism held at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, on November 3-4, 1967. These meetings listed below are CFH's subsequent regular annual meetings.


King Edward Sheraton Hotel; Toronto, ON A Christian Approach to History Dec. 29, 1967

Glad Tidings Tabernacle; New York, NY The Influence of Missionaries on American Foreign Relations Dec. 30, 1968

Concordia Teachers College; River Forest, IL Themes of God and Country in Western History Oct. 3-4, 1969

Windsor Park Hotel; Washington, DC Evangelicals and Black History Dec. 19, 1969

Dallas Bible College; Dallas, TX Christianity, Revolution, and Change Oct. 2-3, 1970

Tremont Temple Baptist; Church; Boston, MA The Historian, the University, and Student Confrontation Dec. 29, 1970

Calvin College; Grand Rapids, MI The Protestant Ethic in History Oct. 8-9, 1971

General Theological Seminary; New York, NY ------ Dec. 29, 1971

Wheaton College; Wheaton, IL Christianity, History and the Meaning of Life Oct. 6-7, 1972

------; New Orleans, LA ------ Dec. 29, 1972

Capital University; Columbus, OH Revivalism and Social Change Oct. 12-13, 1973

St. Francis Hotel; San Francisco, CA Historians and Academic Change Dec. 29, 1973

Bethel College; St. Paul, MN Civil Religion and Christianity Oct. 11-12, 1974

YMCA; Chicago, IL The Image of Evangelicals in Recent American History Dec. 28, 1974

Gordon College; Wenham, MA The American Revolution Oct. 10-11, 1975

Hyatt Regency Hotel; Atlanta, GA Religious Freedom: Some Bicentennial Reflections Dec. 29, 1975

Biola College; La Mirada, CA Moral Judgments in History Oct. 8-9, 1976

Shoreham Hotel; Washington, DC A Christian View of History Dec. 28, 1976

Greenville College; Greenville, IL Reflections of the Roles of the Christian Historian Oct. 7-8, 1977

Fairmont Hotel; Dallas, TX Moral Leadership of American Presidents Dec. 29, 1977

Geneva College; Beaver Falls, PA Evidence, News, and the Media in History Nov. 10-11, 1978

------; San Francisco, CA ------ Dec. 29, 1978


2.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[NOTE: In the Arrangement section, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

Several files contain letters dealing with the beginning of the organization. Thus, folder 2-7 and 2-8 have the minutes of early planning sessions, while folder 2-9 has the letter sent out announcing the formation of CFH and a list of its first members. Folder 2-11 contains a brief article by Pierard on the origins of the Conference. Folder 1-1 contains some of the early brochures describing the Conference. Other types of descriptions are in folder 1-2, which contains clippings from various journals and newsletters. Most of these clippings deal with the formation of CFH. Folder 1-4 contains a great deal of correspondence and informal comments on what the goals and activities of CFH should be.The Secretary-Treasurer's correspondence, apart from the very early material on the formation of CFH in folder 1-4, is concerned mainly with persons wanting to join or renew their membership, arrangements for the editing and publishing of the Fides et Historia and the newsletter, arrangements for the annual meetings, announcements of various members activities, persons seeking jobs or seeking persons, and selection of candidates for CDH officers. The files contain dozens of letters from correspondents at history departments all over the nation. Often the letterwriter includes brief vignettes describing interesting events on his or her campus. Thus, for example, a letter in folder 1-6 describes the visit of then President Richard M. Nixon to a university. Other letters contain brief comments on national events, such as Watergate. Several letters in folders 1-7 and 1-8 are concerned with the question of whether it was possible and desirable for the CFH to acquire some kind of official affiliation with the AHA. Various officers and members of CFH wrote each other describing their feelings and Paul Ward, ex-secretary of the AHA, exchanged comments with Robert Linder. Similar correspondence in folder 1-8 is concerned with affiliation with the Christian's Scholar's Review. Folder 2-2 contains some material from the Public Education Religion Studies Center (PERSC), which describe its archives. Among the most common or interesting correspondents are: Diane E. Blake, George K. Brushaber, Earle E. Cairns, Robert G. Clouse, Robert P. Evans, Robert E. Frykenberg, James Leo Garrett, W. Ward Gasque, George Giacumakis, Jr., David W. Gill, L. Douglas Good, Joseph J. Grabill, Hanns Gross, Charles Hatfield, Karl-Heinz Heller, Carl F. H. Henry, Charles Herman, I. John Hesselink, Samuel Richey Kamm, Arno W. F. Kolz, Irving Luscombe, Belden Menkus, Richard L. Millett, Lee M. Nash, Joel H. Nederhood, Edward Neteland, Mark A. Noll, Donald E. Pitzer, W. Stanford Reid, M. Howard Rienstra, Harry Rosenberg, Richard C. Rung, Robert H. Selby, John W. Snyder, Robert P. Swierenga, Paul Ward, Ronald A. Wells, Georgie B. Wilcox, Carlton O. Wittlinger, Edwin M. Yamauchi, Marvin R. Zahniser, and Ruth Zerner.

Several files contain records from meetings held by the CFH. Most just have a few items, such as programs or lists of registrants. Folder 2-12 contains a transcript of an interesting session held during the 1969 annual meeting on "How 'Christians' Were the Founding Fathers". Panelists included Earle Cairns, John Warwick Montgomery, J. Murray Murdock, Edward M. Panosian, and W. Richard Stephans.

The newsletters in folder 2-22 include reports on hirings and promotions, books published, events of interest to historians, financial reports of the organization, minutes of the executive board, and editorials. Folder 2-3 also contains a partial list of executive board minutes. Also in that folder is a letter explaining the executive board's decision to hold its annual meetings in different regions of the country.

The folders are arranged alphabetically according to title, except for the files labeled "Correspondence" and "Meeting Materials", which are arranged chronologically. The original order and folder titles have been by and large maintained.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives from Richard V. Pierard in February 1979.

Accession 79-17

June 5, 1979

Robert Shuster

A. Labiano

Collection 082 Records of the Conference on Faith and History
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US