James Wellman on Evangelical vs Liberal Christians
Date: November 1st, 2010

Evangelical Christians and liberal mainline Protestants represent distinct religious subcultures in the United States.  James Wellman — associate professor of comparative religion and sociology, and director of the Comparative Religion Program at the University of Washington — discusses the core beliefs, organizational structures and pastoral strategies of these two groups.   Prof. Wellman’s most recent book Evangelical vs. Liberal, examines these two groups in a most unlikely of environments: the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington), arguably one of the least churched region of the United States.  We briefly discuss the cultural environment of the Pacific Northwest, with Prof. Wellman (a native Washingtonian) emphasizing the region’s libertarian sensibilities.  Jim argues that the evangelical emphasis on personal salvation leads to dramatically different styles of worship, community outreach, and engagement in the political arena.  We explore the reasons for these differences in the first half of the podcast.  Our discussion also focuses on why evangelical churches are growing at a faster pace than more liberal-oriented mainline churches.  Recorded: September 24, 2010.

(Please note that due to a scheduling conflict with our normal recording room, the acoustic environment for this podcast created an echo, particularly with your host’s voice.  We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.)


Prof. James Wellman’s website at the University of Washington.

Evangelical vs. Liberal: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest by James K. Wellman, Jr. (Oxford University Press).


Gordon Melton on Mega-Trends in American Religion.

Brad R.E. Wright on Christian Stereotypes.

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