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James Bannerman

James Bannerman (1807-68), was a Free Church divine. Born at Cargill, Perthshire, where his father, Rev. James Patrick Bannerman was minister, he studied arts at Edinburgh University 1822-6 and then theology until 1830, when he was licensed by the Church of Scotland Presbytery of Perth. He was ordained to Ormiston, Midlothian, in 1833.

He played a leading role in the Ten Years’ Conflict, acting as convener of the General Assembly’s Special Commission dealing with the supply of religious ordinances in Strathbogie. Joining the Free Church at the Disruption (1843), in 1849 he was appointed Professor of Apologetics and Pastoral Theology in New College, Edinburgh, a position he held until his death.

Bannerman produced several valuable works. The best-known is his The Church of Christ (published in 1868; reprinted by the Trust in two volumes, 1960 and 1974, and in one volume 2015), an elaborate exposition of Presbyterian ecclesiology which has had considerable influence and has been reprinted several times. His Inspiration (1865) is a magisterial presentation of the concept of the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture. His publications include various pamphlets relating to the controversies of the period, including the Disruption and the proposed Union with the United Presbyterian Church, which he favoured. Bannerman received a DD from Princeton, New Jersey, in 1850. Together with James Buchanan, he edited four volumes of the writings of William Cunningham for the press.

Adapted from Nick Needham’s article in Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, T & T Clark, 1993.