Saturday, October 04, 2008

A.C. Wieand

Albert Cassel Wieand was born near Wadsworth, Ohio in 1871 and united with the Chippewa congregation in 1884. He later attended and graduated from Juniata College before teaching at McPherson College from 1892 to 1900.

In the summer of 1893, the chronically ill Wieand read an article in the Gospel Messenger written by Gertrude Flory who contended that the only real hindrance for those seeking divine healing was lack of faith. Following Flory's instruction, Wieand found an elder who would anoint him. As he remembered years later, "I realized that without an absolute consecration of my life to God, I could not hope for healing thru the anointing."

In 1895, as Wieand became fixated on the idea of a Bible school for the German Baptist Brethren Church, he became so sick that he could not continue his planned course of study. Committing himself fully to the work of creating a Bible School, Wieand's health was restored. With his destiny settled, he began preparation for his career in advanced religious education. He received his Ph.B degree from the University of Chicago in 1901.

While studying in Chicago, he often lived with the family of E.B. Hoff whom he had met earlier in McPherson. In 1901-02, he and Hoff traveled to the Holy Land. Overlooking the village of Bethany from the Mount of Olives, they chose the name Bethany Bible School for the school they hoped to found.

At both the University of Chicago and Columbia University in New York City, Wieand encountered and embraced the emerging progressive educational theories of the time. While teaching at New York's Bible Teachers' Training School from 1903-1905, he discovered a useable model for the Bible School that he hoped would serve Brethren needs for the new century. There he would borrow two "cardinal principles" underlying the course of study at Bethany: the development of "spiritual power" and "the mastery of sacred scripture."

In the fall of 1905, after twelve years of study, Wieand was finally ready to join his increasingly impatient colleague E.B. Hoff in their joint mission to bring theological training to the Brethren.

Tomorrow: The Brethren Love Feast
Coming: The beginnings of Bethany Bible School

Source: Bethany Theological Seminary: A Centenial History, William Kostlevy