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Alexander, Archibald (1772-1851), theological scholar  

James H. Moorhead

Alexander, Archibald (17 April 1772–22 October 1851), theological scholar, was born in what is today Rockbridge County, Virginia, near Lexington, the son of William Alexander and Ann Reid, farmers. Alexander’s father was also a merchant. By local standards, the Alexanders enjoyed a solid affluence....


Allen, Alexander Viets Griswold (1841-1908), Episcopal priest, theologian, and educator  

William L. Sachs

Allen, Alexander Viets Griswold (04 May 1841–01 July 1908), Episcopal priest, theologian, and educator, was born in Otis, Massachusetts, the son of Ethan Allen, a teacher and Episcopal priest, and Lydia Child Burr. His father served churches in Massachusetts and Vermont. Both parents were strongly evangelical in the Episcopal manner of the time, emphasizing biblical authority and teaching more than sacramental theology—a conviction that produced conflict in several of the churches that Allen’s father served. Their piety shaped Allen’s early views, leading him to enroll at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in 1859. Kenyon was an Episcopal institution then of an evangelical stamp. An excellent student, Allen delivered the valedictory address upon graduating in 1862 and immediately entered Bexley Hall, a theological seminary in Gambier....


Ames, Edward Scribner (1870-1958), theologian and Disciples of Christ minister  

Glenn T. Miller

Ames, Edward Scribner (21 April 1870–29 June 1958), theologian and Disciples of Christ minister, was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the son of Lucius Bowles Ames, a Disciples minister and farmer, and Adaline Scribner, a housekeeper. Ames was educated at Drake University, receiving a B.A. in 1889 and an M.A. in 1891. He then studied at Yale, where he received a B.D. in 1892. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1895. After teaching at Butler College in Indianapolis from 1897 to 1900, Ames moved to Chicago as pastor of the Hyde Park (later University) Church, Disciples of Christ, serving until 1940. In 1893 he married Mabel Van Meter; they had four children. Ames began teaching philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1900. He later edited the ...


Anderson, Rufus (1796-1880), mission administrator and theologian  

Robert A. Schneider

Anderson, Rufus (17 August 1796–30 May 1880), mission administrator and theologian, was born in North Yarmouth, Maine, the son of Rufus Anderson, a Congregational minister, and Hannah Parsons. His mother died when he was seven, and Anderson moved to Wenham, Massachusetts, after his father remarried. He grew up in the midst of the evangelical Protestant Christianity of the churches and other religious organizations in which his father was a leader and attended the 1812 ordination of the first Protestant foreign missionaries sent to India from the United States by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Anderson attended Bowdoin College (A.B., 1818), where he experienced the conversion expected in his religious tradition and decided to be a missionary. He graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1822....


Bacon, Benjamin Wisner (1860-1932), clergyman and theological professor  

Gene M. Tucker

Bacon, Benjamin Wisner (15 January 1860–01 February 1932), clergyman and theological professor, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Susan (née Bacon) and Leonard Woolsey Bacon, a clergyman. Bacon grew up surrounded by the traditions, habits and the learning of a family of distinguished New England clerics. His paternal grandfather, ...


Ballou, Hosea (1771-1852), theologian and clergyman  

Olive Hoogenboom

Ballou, Hosea (30 April 1771–07 June 1852), theologian and clergyman, was born in Richmond, New Hampshire, the son of Maturin Ballou, a farmer and unpaid Baptist minister, and Lydia Harris, who came from a Rhode Island Quaker family and died when her son was two years old. Growing up in extreme poverty, Ballou had less than three years of formal schooling. A few months before his nineteenth birthday, he came forward in a revival meeting and joined his father’s church. But before the year was over Ballou’s interest in religion had led him to become a Universalist. Moving in with an older brother who was already a Universalist minister, Ballou prepared himself to teach and preach by attending first a community school and then a nearby academy. Despite the fact that his friends, after hearing his first sermon, delivered in 1791, doubted his “talent for such labor,” Ballou preached wherever he found an open door. The next year he determined to make the ministry his career even though he had to support himself by teaching. In 1793 he went to the first of the nearly fifty New England Universalist conventions he would attend, and by the next year’s session he had so impressed his colleagues that they spontaneously ordained him. In 1796 Ballou moved to Dana, Massachusetts, and in September of that year he married Ruth Washburn; they had nine children....


Bellamy, Joseph (1719-1790), Congregational minister and theologian  

James P. Walsh

Bellamy, Joseph (20 February 1719–06 March 1790), Congregational minister and theologian, was born in the Cheshire section of Wallingford, Connecticut, the son of Matthew Bellamy, a prosperous landowner, and Sarah Wood, who died when he was an infant. He and ten other children were raised by his father’s second wife, Mary Johnson. In 1731, at age twelve, Bellamy was sent to Yale College, from which he graduated in 1735. He then read theology with ...


Bennett, John Coleman (1902-1995), theologian and seminary president  

E. Clinton Gardner

Bennett, John Coleman (22 July 1902–27 April 1995), theologian and seminary president, was born in Kingston, Ontario, the son of William Russell Bennett, a Presbyterian minister, and Charlotte Coleman. He attended Williams College (A.B., 1924), Oxford University (A.B. in theology, 1926; M.A., 1930), and Union Theological Seminary (B.D., 1927; S.T.M., 1929). He married Anna Louesa McGrew in 1931; they had three children. He was ordained as a minister in the Congregational Christian Churches in Berkeley, California, in 1939....


Berkhof, Louis (1873-1957), theologian  

James D. Bratt

Berkhof, Louis (13 October 1873–19 May 1957), theologian, was born in Emmen, in the province of Drenthe, the Netherlands, to Jan Berkhof and Geesje ter Poorten, bakers by trade, though Jan later became a factory worker. The family moved to the United States in 1882, the peak of Dutch-American migration, and settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the group’s emerging center. Sharing the deep Calvinistic piety of his parents, Berkhof took both his college and seminary education (1893–1900) at the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church (later renamed Calvin Theological Seminary) in Grand Rapids. He earned a B.D. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary (1902–1904) and, after serving two Christian Reformed congregations in the Grand Rapids area, was named professor of biblical theology at the Calvin Theological Seminary in 1906. There he spent the rest of his career, switching to his preferred field of systematic theology in 1926 and serving as the seminary’s president from 1931 until his retirement in 1944....


Bomberger, John Henry Augustus (1817-1890), pastor and theologian  

Richard Wentz

Bomberger, John Henry Augustus (13 January 1817–19 August 1890), pastor and theologian, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of George H. Bomberger, a tailor, clothing merchant, and clerk of the orphan’s court, and Mary Hoffmeier. Bomberger’s maternal grandfather was the Reverend John Henry Hoffmeier, who had come to the United States from Köthen in the Anhalt of Germany and served as pastor of the First Reformed Church in Lancaster. John Henry Augustus was his only grandchild and the special concern of the grandfather, who dedicated the boy for service in the ministry....


Bouquillon, Thomas Joseph (1840-1902), Catholic priest and moral theologian  

Patrick W. Carey

Bouquillon, Thomas Joseph (16 May 1840–05 November 1902), Catholic priest and moral theologian, was born in Warnêton, Belgium. Little is known about Bouquillon’s parents other than their occupations as small landowners and farmers. Bouquillon received his early education in the small hamlet of Warnêton and in 1854 was sent to the episcopal college of St. Louis at Menin, Belgium, where until 1860 he learned languages and studied the liberal arts. Immediately thereafter he entered the petit séminaire of Roulers, Belgium, where he studied scholastic philosophy, and in 1862 he studied theology at the major seminary of Bruges, Belgium. In 1863 he matriculated at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he finished his theological studies, was ordained in 1865, and obtained a doctorate in moral theology in 1867....


Bowen, John Wesley Edward (1855-1933), Methodist educator and theologian  

Ralph E. Luker

Bowen, John Wesley Edward (03 December 1855–20 July 1933), Methodist educator and theologian, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edward Bowen and Rose Simon. His father was a carpenter from Maryland who was enslaved when he moved to New Orleans. After purchasing his own freedom, Edward Bowen bought that of his wife and son in 1858 and served in the Union army during the Civil War. After the war young J. W. E. Bowen studied at the Union Normal School in New Orleans and New Orleans University, which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal church for the education of freedmen. Bowen received a bachelor’s degree with the university’s first graduating class in 1878. Eight years later, New Orleans University awarded him a master’s degree. From 1878 to 1882 Bowen taught mathematics and ancient languages at Central Tennessee College in Nashville....


Bowne, Borden Parker (1847-1910), philosopher, theologian, and educator  

John Howie

Bowne, Borden Parker (14 January 1847–01 April 1910), philosopher, theologian, and educator, was born in Atlantic Highlands (formerly Leonardville), New Jersey, the son of Joseph Bowne and Margaret Parker. His father, a farmer and justice of the peace, served also as a local Methodist preacher. His father was a staunch abolitionist, and his mother, a descendent of Quaker stock, despised sham and vanity. Traits of both parents ran deep in their son....


Boyce, James Petigru (1827-1888), Baptist seminary founder and theologian  

Glenn Miller

Boyce, James Petigru (11 January 1827–28 December 1888), Baptist seminary founder and theologian, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Ker Boyce, a wealthy banker and merchant, and Amanda Jane Caroline Johnston. His father was among the richest men in the South. Boyce was educated at Charleston College from 1843 to 1845, Brown University from 1845 to 1847, and Princeton Theological Seminary from 1849 to 1851. He married Elizabeth Llewellyn Ficklen in 1858; they had three daughters....


Breckinridge, Robert Jefferson (1800-1871), theologian and educator  

Gardiner H. Shattuck

Breckinridge, Robert Jefferson (08 March 1800–27 November 1871), theologian and educator, was born at Cabell’s Dale (near Lexington) in Fayette County, Kentucky, the son of John Breckinridge, a lawyer and politician, and Mary Hopkins Cabell. Raised in one of the most prominent families in Kentucky, he attended Jefferson College between 1816 and 1818, spent a few months at Yale College in 1818, and finally graduated from Union College in 1819. After completing his schooling, he returned home to study law. Breckinridge married his cousin Ann Sophonisba Preston in 1823; they had four children. He opened his practice in 1824 and a year later was elected to represent Fayette County in the state legislature; he held that position until 1828....


Briggs, Charles Augustus (1841-1913), clergyman and theological scholar  

Gene M. Tucker

Briggs, Charles Augustus (15 January 1841–08 June 1913), clergyman and theological scholar, was born in New York City, the son of Sarah Mead Berrian and Alanson Briggs, the owner of the largest barrel-making company in the United States. He studied at the University of Virginia, where he had a personal conversion experience on 30 November 1858 in the midst of the urban revival of that year. He joined the First Presbyterian Church of Charlottesville and subsequently announced to his family that he would enter the ministry instead of the family business. After spending three months with New York’s Seventh Regiment at Camp Cameron near Washington, D.C., he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York in October 1861. There ...


Brown, William Adams (1865-1943), Presbyterian theologian, educator, and activist  

Glenn T. Miller

Brown, William Adams (29 December 1865–15 December 1943), Presbyterian theologian, educator, and activist, was born in New York City, the son of John Crosby Brown, the head of Brown Brothers and Company, a large New York banking firm, and Mary Elizabeth Adams, the daughter of William Adams, pastor of the Central (later Madison Square) Presbyterian Church. Both the Brown and Adams families were active in New York philanthropy and, in particular, supported Union Theological Seminary. Brown was educated at Yale University (B.A. 1886, M.A. 1888), Union Theological Seminary (B.D. 1890), and the University of Berlin (1890–1892). Union Seminary appointed Brown to teach church history in 1892; however, one year later the school transferred him to the Department of Theology. He earned a Ph.D. from Yale in 1901. Brown served as professor of theology until 1930, when Union appointed him research professor in applied Christianity. In 1892 he had married Helen Gilman Noyes; they had four children....


Buckham, John Wright (1864-1945), theologian  

Charles D. Cashdollar

Buckham, John Wright (05 November 1864–30 March 1945), theologian, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of Matthew Henry Buckham, a president of the University of Vermont, and Elizabeth Wright. Buckham studied at the University of Vermont where he was influenced by Kantian professor Henry A. P. Torrey. Following his graduation in 1885, Buckham enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary where he absorbed “Progressive Orthodoxy,” the distinctive trinitarian theology emphasizing divine immanence and religious experience that was then being expounded by the Andover Liberals, the faculty who had recently wrested control of the institution away from the previous generation of Edwardsean traditionalists. Buckham graduated from Andover in 1888 and accepted a call to the Second Congregational Church in Conway, New Hampshire; it was a tiny, mountainous parish still supported by denominational home mission funds. Buckham’s ordination there in August 1888 was controversial; his endorsement of universal rather than limited salvation led to a split vote in the ordination council, and one neighboring pastor refused him the right hand of fellowship. The parishioners, however, embraced him proudly. On New Year’s Day 1889 he married Helen E. Willard; they had three children....


Bushnell, Horace (1802-1876), Congregationalist minister and theologian  

E. Brooks Holifield

Bushnell, Horace (14 April 1802–17 February 1876), Congregationalist minister and theologian, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Ensign Bushnell, a farmer and owner of a small textile mill, and Dotha Bishop, a farmer and director of a cloth-dressing shop. In 1805 the family moved from their modest farm in Litchfield to nearby New Preston, where Horace eventually worked in his father’s textile mill until he entered Yale College in 1823. He graduated four years later and became a schoolteacher in Norwich, Connecticut, before spending ten months as the associate editor of the ...


Carnell, Edward John (1919-1967), theologian and educator  

D. G. Hart

Carnell, Edward John (28 June 1919–25 April 1967), theologian and educator, was born in Antigo, Langlade County, Wisconsin, the son of Herbert C. Carnell and Fannie Carstens, a fundamentalist minister and his wife who struggled to support their family by serving several Baptist churches in the Upper Midwest. Carnell attended Wheaton College from 1937 to 1941 and received an A.B. in philosophy. Although he sometimes worked thirty-five to forty hours a week in the dining hall as an undergraduate, Carnell was able to excel in philosophy under the tutelage of Professor Gordon Haddon Clark, whose philosophical defense of Christianity made a lasting impact on a generation of evangelical leaders who attended the midwestern fundamentalist liberal arts college during these years. From Wheaton, Carnell went to Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, an institution that had been founded in opposition to Princeton Seminary in 1929 during the fundamentalist controversy. At Westminster he studied theology with the Dutch Calvinist Cornelius Van Til, whose system of theology stressed the intellectual differences between believers and nonbelievers, and he earned both a Th.B. and a Th.M (1944). Because the U.S. government deferred the draft of seminarians, Carnell did not serve in World War II. In 1944 he married Shirley Rowe, a schoolteacher; they had two children. Carnell went on to complete two doctorates. He first earned a Th.D. at Harvard University (1948), where he wrote a dissertation on the theology of ...