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Ep. 137: A Conversation with Dr. Gerardo Marti

I’m Warren Smith and I’d like to welcome you to the MinistryWatch podcast.

Here at MinistryWatch we bring you news about Christian ministries, as well as the latest in charity and philanthropy, news that we examine from a Christian worldview perspective.  Our goal is to help us become better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.

These mid-week “Extra” episodes are a chance for us to go deep with a particular topic, and today we have on the program Dr. Gerardo Marti, and we’re going to discuss his book “The Glass Church: Robert H. Schuller, the Crystal Cathedral, and the Strain of Megachurch Ministry.”

This book caught my attention because it fills in an important chapter in the story of the evangelical movement.  Many people, including me, have traced the rise of the evangelical megachurch to the Jesus movement of the 1970s, the rise of cable television, or the Willow Creek seeker model of the 1980s.  And those influences were indeed powerful.

But Gerardo Marti and his co-author Mark Mulder says that what Robert Schuller was doing as early as the late 1950s and early 60s, with drive-in churches and a sophisticated use of media and events, pre-date and provide a road map for many who followed, and that the rise and fall of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral provides lessons we should learn today.

Gerardo Marti, my guest today, is the L. Richardson King Professor of Sociology at Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina.  He has written a number of books about religion and culture, and he served for many years as editor in chief of the peer-reviewed journal “Sociology of Religion:  A Quarterly Review.”

The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Steve Gandy. We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, and Casey Sudduth.

I’m Warren Smith, and – until next time – May God bless you.