Professor Cherry has been called "one of the foremost architects of the discipline of religious studies in the United States." His scholarship on American theologians Jonathan Edwards and Horace Bushnell and his work on the theme of nature in religion have been called "central and influential works in understanding religion in America." Cherry's book, God's New Israel, has been called the single most valuable collection of primary materials available on American civil religion, and his most recent books, Hurrying Toward Zion and Religion on Campus, have already earned high critical praise.
As Director of IUPUI's Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, established in 1989, Cherry continued his pivotal role in the field. Prior to joining the faculty at IUPUI in 1988, Cherry was director of Scholars Press, where he is credited with presiding over a revival of the publication of serious scholarly works in religion. In 1991, Professor Cherry, along with co-editors Rowland Sherrill and Jan Shipps, launched a new journal, Religion and American Culture, that represents the coming of age of the study of religion and American culture. This interdisciplinary journal gives the academic community a vehicle for dialogue, and the means to continue the process of intelligent growth.
Professor Cherry's commitment to education in the field of religious studies is summed up by one of his former students, a faculty member and scholar at an eastern university: "From Conrad I learned the passion of scholarly pursuit, the importance of excellence in the way knowledge is communicated, and the enormous dedication and discipline required of those who would make significant scholarly contributions to their colleagues, students, and field of study."