Expert Panel Sponsored by Wheaton College and American Bible Society Discusses the Question

Wheaton, Ill., Sept. 24, 2013—The best-selling book of all time, the Bible, has always had some level of influence on American culture. But to what extent is it still influencing the country?

On October 25 and 26, leading religion experts will examine the role of the Bible in American life in present day and throughout history at a conference for scholars, students, clergy and laypersons at Wheaton College.

“American Bible Society has worked to stimulate conversation about the Bible since its inception in 1816,” said the organization’s president, Doug Birdsall. “This symposium at Wheaton College is meant to inspire this generation to examine how the Bible has shaped our democracy in the past and consider how it continues to contribute to our national discourse, democratic process and society as a whole.”

Symposium topics include:

  • Historical influence of the Bible on democracy
  • Current expression of the Christian biblical narrative
  • Future influence of the Bible in America

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Marty E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School
  • Dr. Henry Lee Allen, professor of sociology at Wheaton College
  • Dr. Vincent E. Bacote, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College
  • Father George Smiga, pastor of St. Noel Catholic Church and faculty at St. Mary Seminary
  • Dr. Timothy Beal, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University
  • Dr. Catherine Brekus, associate professor of American religious history at the University of Chicago
  • Lillian Daniel, senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, United Church of Christ
  • Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt, associate professor of theology and history of Christianity at Wheaton College

Friday, Oct. 25, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Barrows Auditorium
500 College Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187

This symposium is the first in a series of planned events to mark American Bible Society’s Bicentennial. For more information, visit

About American Bible Society:
Founded in 1816, American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation’s oldest nonprofit organizations, today’s American Bible Society provides interactive, high-tech and traditional resources, enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time.



Christy Lynn Wilson

Katie Rouse


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.