John Williamson Nevin

John Williamson Nevin

John Williamson Nevin

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John Williamson Nevin (February 20, 1803 - June 6, 1886), American theologian and educationalist, was born on Herron's Branch, near Shippensburg, Franklin county, Pennsylvania.


He was a nephew of Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, and was of Scottish blood and Presbyterian training. He graduated at Union College in 1821; studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1823-1828, being in 1826-1828 in charge of the classes of Charles Hodge; was licensed to preach by the Carlisle Presbytery in 1828; and in 1830-1840 was professor of Biblical literature in the newly founded Western Theological Seminary (now Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) of Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

But under the influence of Neander he was gradually breaking away from "Puritanic Presbyterianism," and in 1840, having resigned his chair in Allegheny, he was appointed professor of theology in the (German Reformed) Theological Seminary at Mercersburg, Pa., and thus passed from the Presbyterian Church into the German Reformed. He soon became prominent; first by his contributions to its organ the Messenger; then by The Anxious Bench—A Tract for the Times (1843), attacking the vicious excesses of revivalistic methods; and by his defence of the inauguration address, The Principle of Protestantism, delivered by his colleague Philip Schaff, which aroused a storm of protest by its suggestion that Pauline Protestantism was not the last word in the development of the church but that a...
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