DALE, ROBERT WILLIAM (1829–1895)
English Congregationalist minister; one of the great pulpiteers of his time
Famous as a preacher, lecturer, and author, Dale was invited to present the Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale Divinity School in 1877.
From 1853 until his health failed in 1891, Dale drew large congregations to Carr’s Lane Chapel in Birmingham (England). But he was concerned for the welfare of all Christians in England, especially those outside the Church of England.
After the first Keswick Convention, in 1874, Dale argued for its continuation, rejoicing in the convention’s practical emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and personal growth in the Christian life. Because he sought equal opportunity for all Christians, he opposed the special privileges accorded the Church of England by the state and pressed for its disestablishment.
He supported the founding of new Congregational churches. At various stages in his ministry, he edited a paper (The Congregationalist), chaired the Congregational Union, and presided at the first International Council of Congregational Churches. A graduate of Spring Hill College, a Congregational institution in Birmingham, Dale led in its move to Oxford, where in 1886 it opened as Mansfield College.
Dale campaigned for a more fully developed Christian culture and society. He believed that such development would include education and progressive social reform, the latter based on individual response to the gospel, not on organized Christian political movements. Consequently he refused to attend the Free Church Congress in 1892 because he feared it was an effort to constitute a political party. He supported Joseph Chamberlain, the reforming mayor of Birmingham, and served on the school board there.
His best–known books are The Atonement (1875) and Ephesians (1882). D.Munson
J. D. Douglas, Philip Wesley Comfort and Donald Mitchell, Who’s Who in Christian History, Illustrated Lining Papers. (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1997, c1992).
This Biographical Sketch comes from…
Who’s Who in Christian History
With over 1,500 biographical entries, this bibliographical dictionary is a comprehensive resource, spanning the first through the twentieth centuries-from Jesus and the apostles to Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. Any reader will be fascinated and inspired by the lives of men and women-well known and obscure-who were influential in Christian history. This one volume biographical dictionary is also a perfect resource for pastors, Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, Bible students, and seminarians.