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William Jennings Bryan, the Round Table Club, and Religious Freedom

Richard Gamble and Jeff McDonald join us again. On this episode, McDonald introduces several significant points about William Jennings Bryan, including his early life and upbringing in a strong evangelical tradition, his belief that schools and universities posed a problem to religious freedom, and his concern that students could be led away from faith into unbelief if they fell under the influence of mind worshipers. He also notes Bryan’s political career and his advocacy for economic and religious freedom, as well as his influence on the Democratic party and his ongoing relevance to current political issues.

Jeffrey McDonald is a Presbyterian minister, historian, and author of John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism in Modern America (Wipf & Stock, 2017).

Richard M. Gamble is Professor of History and holds the Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Politics at Hillsdale College.


  • 00:07 Introduction
  • 02:40 The Presbyterian Scholars Conference
  • 10:27 William Jennings Bryan
  • 18:48 Misconceptions about Bryan
  • 22:05 Bryan’s Background
  • 26:49 The Round Table Club
  • 32:30 Concerns Regarding Religious Freedom and Education
  • 37:11 Responding to Secularism
  • 39:04 Machen and Libertarianism
  • 41:11 Surprising Findings about Bryan
  • 50:17 Bryan as a Nebraskan
  • 53:26 Learning from Bryan
  • 58:17 Conclusion



Participants: , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.


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