J. Wilbur Chapman

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John Wilbur Chapman

(American Presbyterian clergyman)


Born June 17, 1859
Richmond, Wayne County
Indiana
Died December 25, 1918 (aged 59)
New York City

Interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx

Spouse (1) Irene Steddon Chapman (married 1882-1886, her death)

(2) Agbnes Pruyn Strain Chapman (married 1888-1907, her death)
(3) Mabel Cornelia Moulton Chapman (married 1910-1918, his death)
Daughter from first marriage:
Bertha Irene
Children from second marriage:
Robert (died in infancy)
John Wilbur Chapman, Jr.
Alexander Hamilton Chapman
Agnes Pruyn

John Wilbur Chapman (June 17, 1859 – December 25, 1918) was a Presbyterian clergyman known for his world-wide preaching and hymn writing.

Background

A native of Richmond in Wayne County in eastern Indiana, he was a son of Alexander H. Chapman and the former Lorinda McWhinney. At the age of seventeen, he acknowledged his faith in Jesus Christ He joined his local Presbyterian congregation in Richmond and in 1877 left to attend Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. After a year at Oberlin, he transferred to Lake Forest University in Lake Forest, Illinois, from which he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1879. From 1879 to 1882, he studied at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was ordained to the ministry on April 13, 1881.[1]

Chapman was first married to the former Irene Steddon, who died four years later in 1886, a month after the birth of their first child, Bertha Irene. In 1888, Chapman wed the former Agnes Pruyn Strain, by whom he had four children, Robert (who died in infancy), John Wilbur, Jr., Alexander Hamilton, and Agnes Pruyn. Agnes died in 1907; three years later, Chapman wed the former Mabel Cornelia Moulton, who outlived her husband by more than fifty years.[1]

Ministerial career

Chapman led several churches in Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania, prior to his full time evangelistic efforts. From 1899 to 1902, he was pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in New York City. Chapman began his evangelistic work full time in 1893 in Chicago, at which he preached alongside Dwight L. Moody. He hired Billy Sunday as an advance man. At this time, evangelist Sol C. Dickey established a Bible Conference Center in Winona Lake, Indiana. This center held lifelong interest to Chapman along with the others he helped develop in Montreat, North Carolina, and Stony Brook, on Long Island, New York.[1] After returning to the active pastorate for a short time, at the end of 1895, Chapman was named the corresponding secretary of the Presbyterian General Assembly's Committee on Evangelism. He directed the activities of 51 evangelists in 470 cities and published the book Present Day Evangelism. In 1905, John H. Converse, a wealthy Presbyterian layman, offered to underwrite Chapman's expenses if he would return to full time evangelistic work. Converse set up a trust fund to provide long-term funding after Converse's death.[1] From 1904 to 1909, Chapman began to develop and promote the holding of several meetings throughout a city simultaneously. This allowed more people to be reached. He first tried this approach in 1904 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he divided into nine evangelical districts. Song leader Charles McCallon Alexander joined Chapman in 1907 as half of their "Chapman-Alexander Simultaneous Campaign." The first such campaign was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from March 12 to April 19, 1908. The city was divided into forty-two districts with twenty-one teams of evangelist-musicians. In a 1909 revival in Boston, Massachusetts, is considered to have been Chapman's most successful crusade. He divided Boston into twenty-seven districts and recorded seven thousand conversions.[1] On March 26, 1909, the first Chapman-Alexander worldwide campaign left Vancouver, British Columbia. it returned on November 26. The two stopped in Australia, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.In 1910, Chapman continued his non-stop evangelistic efforts in both the United States and Europe. In time his technique of mass evangelism lost popularity. A series of unsuccessful campaigns were conducted in Bangor and Portland, Maine, and Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. After 1912, Chapman's revivals were confined to a single mass meeting. Chapman also conducted revivals in Scotland, Ireland, India, and New Zealand. He preached three to five times daily in many of those locations. In May 1918, the Presbyterian General Assembly elected Chapman as the denominational moderator. The heavy duties soon contributed to the collapse of his health. Chapman underwent emergency surgery for gallstones on December 23 and died two days later on Christmas Day 1918. He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx borough of New York City.

Selected works

Ivory Palaces of the King (1893)
Received Ye the Holy Ghost (Power) (1894)
And Peter (1895)
The Lost Crown (1899)
The Secret of a Happy Day (1899)
Spiritual Life of the Sunday School (1899)
Present Day Parables (1900)
Revivals and Missions (1900)
From Life to Life (1900)
The Life and Work of D. L. Moody (1900)
Present Day Evangelism (1903)

Hymns

Chapman's best-known hymns include:

"Jesus! What a Friend for sinners"
"Living He loved me"
"One day when heaven was filled with His praises"
"The Savior has died to redeem you"
"My soul crieth out for the Spirit."[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 J. Wilbur Chapman American Evangelist and Pastor. Truthfulwords.org. Retrieved on June 4, 2018.
  2. J. William Chapman. Hymnary.org. Retrieved on June 4, 2018.