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Charles Cotherman

PhD 2018


  • University of Virginia: Ph.D. (expected 2018)
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary: M.Div. (2012)
  • Grove City College: B.A. (2006)


The Study-Center Movement: Lay Theological Education, the Counterculture, and American Evangelicalism, 1965-1979 From the mid-1960s through much of the 1970s North America witnessed the birth of a small but significant evangelical study-center movement. Study centers like Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri and James Houston’s Regent College helped shift the attention of some evangelicals, especially college-aged students and theologically curious evangelical women, from evangelical Bible colleges and seminaries to non-traditional learning communities. In many of these communities theological education was specifically tailored to the needs of the laity and the demands of an American culture defined more by revolution than by the Victorian culture that still dominated most conservative churches in America. Borrowing from the artistic and communal sensibilities of the counterculture, but still committed to traditional evangelical understandings of Scripture, communities like L’Abri, the Institute for Christian Studies, and Regent College pioneered a new method of Christian education that helped fuel a renaissance in the life of the mind among evangelical men and women and inspired numerous efforts to replicate the notable success of these early centers. Hardly a story leading from triumph to triumph, these communities and the movement they helped birth within American evangelicalism sometimes barely seemed to register as a blip on the radar of American evangelicals as the 1970s faded into the high-powered, mega-church, Moral Majority, Reagan years, but in the end many of these study-centered proved to have a impact just as lasting, and perhaps even more so, than Jerry Falwell’s short-lived Moral Majority. 

Research Interests

  • American Religious History
  • Evangelicalism
  • Theological Education
  • Spirituality
  • History of Christian Missions


Graduate Assistant, Summer Transitions Program, University of Virginia (Summer 2015)

Teaching Assistant, University of Virginia (2013-2015)        

RELG 2660: Spiritual but not Religious: The History of American Spirituality (Spring 2015)

RELC 2050: The Rise of Christianity (Fall 2014)

RELG 2160: Religion in America Since 1865 (Spring 2014)

RELG 1010: Introduction to the Western Religious Traditions (Fall 2013)

Book Reviews

Review of McVicar, Michael J., Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American  

            Religious Conservatism. H-Catholic, H-Net Reviews. August, 2015.




“Seeing Jesus in the Red (White and Blue) Letters: Patriotic Bibles and the Shaping of Memory and Authority in American Evangelicalism,” Fellows Symposium, Jefferson Scholars Foundation, Charlottesville, VA, February 27, 2015

“Popularizing a Usable Past: The Providence Foundation, Kirk Cameron, and the Legacy of Francis Schaeffer,” Conference on Faith and History, Malibu, CA, September 26, 2014

“The Uneasy Conscience of Neo-Evangelicalism: Tensions Between Separation and Infiltration in the Life and Work of Harold John Ockenga,” Public thesis presentation, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2012. 


Awards and Honors

Hilliard Family Jefferson Fellow (2012-2017), Jefferson Scholars Foundation

The Thomas Jamison Scholarship for the student with the highest GPA (2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

The Sylvester S. Marvin Fellowship given for post-graduate study to the highest-ranking member of the class (2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

The Henry A. Riddle Fund for Graduate Study (2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

The Robert A. Lee Church History Prize (2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Middlesex United Presbyterian Church Memorial Prize in Biblical Studies (2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Fred McFeely Rogers Prize in Biblical Studies (2010), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Thomas Chalmers Honors Scholarship (2009-2012), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary