Barnas Sears

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Barnas Sears, before 1880

Barnas Sears (born November 19, 1802 in Sandisfield , Massachusetts , † July 6, 1880 in Saratoga , New York ) was a Baptist theologian who taught in the United States and Germany . Under his leadership, the first German Baptist congregation was constituted in 1834 , which became the nucleus of almost all continental European Baptist churches.


Sears family home in Staunton, Virginia, USA

Barnas Sears received his theological training at Brown University ( Providence / Rhode Island ) and at the Newton Theological Institute . After a time as a parish pastor, he qualified as a professor of linguistics in Hamilton . Guest professorships took him to France and Germany in 1834 . Here taught at the University of Halle .

During this time, Sears was through the agency also contacted the Hamburg circle around the from Varel derived businessman Johann Gerhard Oncken had formed. On April 22, 1834 , Barnas Sears baptized Oncken and six other members of his circle. Finally, under his chairmanship, the first German Baptist congregation was constituted , which became the nucleus of continental European Baptism. In memory of this event, Oncken nicknamed his son William Sears .

After returning to the United States, Sears was appointed professor of theology at the Newton Theological Institute in 1836 and was its rector a short time later until 1848 . He then worked in the education system of the state of Massachusetts until the Brown University in 1855 appointed him their 5th President and Professor of Ethics . In 1866 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

From 1874 to 1877, Barnas Sears was also President of the American Baptist Missionary Union and in this role supported above all the church development of German and European Baptists.

Works (selection)

  • The Life of Luther; with Special Reference to its Earlier Periods and the Opening Scenes of the Reformation , Philadelphia 1850
  • Objections to public schools considered: remarks at the annual meeting of the trustees of the Peabody education fund , Boston 1875

See also


  • Frank Fornacon: Article Sears, Barnas, Prof. DD , in: Günter Balders (Ed.): One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism - 150 Years of Baptist Congregations in Germany , Wuppertal / Kassel 1984, p. 361, ISBN 3-7893- 7883-6
  • Alvah Hovey: Barnas Sears. A Christian Educator. His Making and Work , New York 1902

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Luckey : Johann Gerhard Oncken and the beginnings of German Baptism , Kassel 1934, p. 290