The Tragic Fate Of A Famous Seminary -- By: John Alfred Faulkner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 080:320 (Oct 1923)
Article: The Tragic Fate Of A Famous Seminary
Author: John Alfred Faulkner


The Tragic Fate Of A Famous Seminary

John Alfred Faulkner

I ONCE heard my friend, Bishop Hurst, deliver his interesting lecture, Ironies of History. Since then one could add to his instances: England joining with her-age long enemy France to defeat the country which helped her at Waterloo to save the world from French militarism; a Christian country, Germany, joining with the Moslem Turk almost to annihilate (at least that was the result) a Christian Church and people, the Armenians; France, an infidel state, asking to take over the protectorate again of Catholic interests in Syria; the smallest of the parties in Russia grasping the government there, and though supposed to be founded on fraternity and communistic brotherhod raising itself up and keeping its power by a ruthlessness of brute force and a series of unnecessary murders and massacres unparalleled in modern history; the passing of the Free State bill for Ireland in 1922 by the same party and parties who in 1886 repudiated with indignation and scorn the much more modest Home Rule bill of Gladstone. But in Church History at any rate the grimmest piece of irony ever known is the ensconcing of Andover Theological Seminary in 1908 under the eaves of Harvard University, and in 1922 its affiliation with the Harvard Divinity School to form “The Theological School in Harvard University.” The steps which led to that form one of the most interesting chapters in Christian history.

In 1723 Hollis, an English Baptist Calvinist, founded in Harvard College the Hollis professorship of theology, and one of his conditions was that the incumbent should be of “sound and orthodox belief.” Its endowment had been increased by other legacies from American Calvinists, one of these referring to the blue enough creed drawn up in the famous synod in Boston in 1680. Good Calvinists accordingly held the chair from 1723 to 1805. But liberal views had been spreading. In Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit: Unitarian (1865), I count thirty

divines whose ministry began before Ware’s in 1787. The great eruption took place in Channing’s famous Jared Sparks ordination sermon in 1819, but there was a considerable development before that. The death of Dr. Tappan left the Hollis chair vacant in 1805, and the Board of Overseers elected the excellent pastor at Hingham, Mass., Henry Ware, a noble and conscientious spirit, well known, however, as a liberal, or Unitarian. The election inflamed the Puritan mind. Pamphlets came out against it as a perversion of trust. It was felt that no longer could Harvard be trusted to educate preachers for Congregational pulpits. One of the professors, Dr. Pearson, was so disgusted that he resigned, saying that the “University was subject to s...

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