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Irving, Edward

Edward Irving, 1792–1834, Scottish preacher, under whose influence the Catholic Apostolic Church was founded; its members have sometimes been called Irvingites. He was tutor to Jane Welsh, later the wife of Thomas Carlyle, and became the friend of Carlyle. After serving as assistant (1819–22) to Thomas Chalmers in Glasgow, Irving was called to the Caledonian Church, London, where his oratory brought him great popularity; he and his congregation moved to the larger Regent Square Church in 1827. As his preaching began to emphasize the supernatural and the imminence of the second coming of Christ, criticism arose, especially over his views on the human nature of Christ. In 1832 he was debarred from the Regent Square Church; in 1833 he was deposed from the ministry of the Church of Scotland. Irving had, from 1826, been meeting with a group gathered together by Henry Drummond to study the prophecies of the Scriptures. From this "school of the prophets" was developed the Catholic Apostolic Church, of which Irving was an "angel," or bishop.

See biography by M. O. W. Oliphant (1864); H. C. Whitney, Blinded Eagle (1955).

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Irving, Edward

Irving, Edward (1792–1834). Religious leader. Born in Annan, educated at Edinburgh University, Irving was successively master of Kirkcaldy Academy, assistant at St John's, Glasgow, and minister at Hatton Garden chapel, London (1822), where his extravagant preaching moved many, but made him pretentious. He published his naïve Argument for Judgement to Come (1823) and moved to a large new church in Regent Square (1827) where his congregation grew to 1,000. Convinced of Christ's imminent second coming, he encouraged ‘speaking with tongues’ and translated a Spanish Jesuit's The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty (1827). After returning to Scotland (1828) where he was greeted with crowded churches, he was charged with heresy for his tract The Orthodox and Catholic Doctrine of our Lord's Human Nature (1830) and removed from Regent Square (1832). His congregation mostly followed him to found the Catholic Apostolic Church (or Irvingites). The Church of Scotland deprived him of his orders (1833).

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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