by Horace Bushnell
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Horace Bushnell (1802-1876), minister and theologian, is sometimes called “the father of
American religious liberalism.” Influenced by Emerson, Coleridge, and Schleiermacher,
the controversial Bushnell thoroughly critiqued the emphasis on the conversion
experience so popular among the Christian revivalists of his time.Christian Nurture was the first of his more controversial publications. The book contains one of
Bushnell’s most stringent denunciations of the views of his evangelical contemporaries
on the process of becoming a follower of Christ. Becoming a Christian did not happen
overnight in a burst of emotion, he argued; instead, one must train oneself up in the ways
of the church as long as one lives, and only then can one claim the title “Christian.”
In particular, Bushnell advises parents to train up their children in the faith from the
beginning of their lives.