Scottish churchman and theologian
Alexander Balmain Bruce (January 31, 1831 – August 7, 1899) was a Scottish churchman and theologian. He was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. 40x40px Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Bruce, Alexander Balmain. He was born at Aberargie near Perth, Scotland. His father suffered for his adherence to the Free Church at the Disruption of 1843, and moved to Edinburgh, where Alexander was educated, showing exceptional ability from the first.
After sixteen years’ service as a parish minister, he worked, from 1875 until his death, as Professor of Apologetics and New Testament Exegesis at the Free Church Divinity Hall, Glasgow (Trinity College). His interest in apologetics arose out of an early experience of wrestling with doubt which produced in him a particular sensitivity to the doubts of others.
He was deeply affected by D. F. Strauss’s Life of Jesus (English translation, 1846), an anti-supernatural approach which portrayed the gospel history as a collection of myths. Responding to Strauss’s radically liberal approach, he placed a heavy emphasis on the historical reliability of the New Testament. His concentration on this issue was so great that other matters of apologetic interest were largely overlooked.
A liberal evangelical, his work was received with suspicion in more conservative circles, e.g. the hostile reaction within his own communion to his book, The Kingdom of God (1889). Typical of this conservative criticism was B. B. Warfield’s contention that he conceded too much to unbelief. Also disconcerting to conservative critics was the favorable reception of his works of New Testament scholarship, e.g. St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity (1894) and The Epistle to the Hebrews: The First Apology (1899), among liberal critics from Germany. Conservative fears about his liberal views were increased with the posthumous publication of his article on ‘Jesus’ in Encyclopaedia Biblica (1901). The fact that his major work on apologetics - Apologetics or Christianity Defensively Stated (1892) - is nowhere near as well known as his work on the training of the twelve suggests that much, if not all, of his work on apologetics is now regarded as being somewhat dated.
Works by A.B. Bruce
Christians are called to follow the Lord in all their endeavors, whether leading or serving. As a result of this calling, Christians should strive to live like Christ in all that they do. But how did Jesus manage his ministry? Alexander Bruce seeks to answer precisely that question in his book, The Training of the Twelve. As the leader of twelve disciples and crowds of followers during his lifetime, Jesus handled many difficult situations that Christian leaders still face today. By showing how Jesus and his disciples dealt with hardships like betrayal, death, and corruption, Bruce provides his readers with valuable leadership skills. Relying almost entirely on Biblical accounts, Bruce also addresses the important issues of humility, doubt, patience, intercessory prayer, religious rituals, and self-sacrifice. This book is not just for leaders. Christ teaches us how to lead, but also how to be led. Likewise, Training of the Twelve gives us timeless advice on how Christians can be truly fulfilled while being led by others. The Training of the Twelve is an excellent resource for individuals as well as communities of all sizes.
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