Pierson, Arthur Tappan
b New York, USA 1837, d 1911. (His second Christian name was that of the N American hymnwriting evangelist William Tappan, 1794–1849.) Hamilton Coll, NY, and Union Theol Seminary. Ordained in the Presbyterian ch at 23, he held a series of pastoral appointments in New York state, Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia (Penns). While at this last he began a savings scheme which grew into the city’s first Penny Savings Bank. Following these ministries he launched into his evangelistic travels while also continuing a prolific teaching and writing career. In 1891 he came to London, briefly succeeding C H Spurgeon (qv) as Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, 1891–93. Not at that time but a few years later, at the age of 59, he was persuaded of his need of believer’s baptism by immersion; on submitting to this ordinance he resigned from the presbytery of Philadelphia. He spoke at the Keswick Convention, then a rare American voice in that Lakeland setting. He also promoted the Student Volunteer Movement which from 1886 onwards appealed for recruits for overseas mission—a role partly taken over later by IVF/UCCF. His theology leaned towards dispensationalism, the division of biblical and church history into distinct periods each with its own principles, and he advised on what became known as ‘The Scofield Bible’. In periodicals and books he left a considerable body of writing; he heard Geo Müller preach at Bristol in the latter’s 95th year (1896), and 3 years later wrote a biography George Müller of Bristol and his Witness to a Prayer Hearing God. But among fellow-evangelicals and Pentecostals (as in Sankey) two of his hymns have proved the most memorable items. Nos.706, 972*.