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Buchman, Frank Nathan Daniel

Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman (bŏŏk´mən), 1878–1961, American evangelist, b. Pennsburg, Pa. The international movement he founded has been variously called First Century Christian Fellowship, the Oxford Group, Moral Re-Armament (often known as MRA), and Buchmanism. Buchman was ordained in the Lutheran ministry in 1902. He was head (1905–15) of religious work at Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State Univ.). In 1921, Buchman, after five years of extension lecturing for the Hartford Theological Foundation, visited England. There he preached "world-changing through life-changing" among the students at Oxford, hence the name Oxford Group. In 1938 he instituted a campaign known as Moral Re-Armament. The work of evangelism for personal and national spiritual reconstruction is conducted informally and intimately in groups gathered in educational institutions, in church congregations, or in homes. "House parties" take the place of conferences, and religious experiences are shared in personal confessions. The evangelists stress absolute honesty, purity, love, and unselfishness. Moral Re-Armament has always been a controversial organization, resulting from its strident anti-Communist positions as well as from Buchman's open admiration of Adolf Hitler.

See his speeches, Remaking the World (new and rev. ed. 1961); P. Howard, Frank Buchman's Secret (1962); G. Ekman, Experiment with God: Frank Buchman Reconsidered (tr. 1972).

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Buchman, Frank

Buchman, Frank (1878–1961). Founder of Moral Re-Armament. A Lutheran pastor in Pennsylvania, Buchman embarked for Europe in 1908 after a disagreement. There he began a campaign along evangelical lines. In Oxford in 1921 he founded the ‘First-Century Christian Fellowship’ or Oxford Group Movement, the chief activity of which was house parties including group confessions, prayers and listening for God's guidance, having as their aim the ‘changing’ of lives. The Oxford Group became Moral Re-Armament in 1938.

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Buchman, Frank Nathan Daniel

BUCHMAN, FRANK NATHAN DANIEL

Founder of movement known variously as Oxford Group, Moral Re-armament (MRA), and Buchmanism;b. Pennsburg, Pa., June 4, 1878; d. Freudenstadt, Germany, Aug. 7, 1961. After receiving his M.A. from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., Buchman was ordained in the Lutheran ministry (1902) and did parish work for three years in Philadelphia, Pa., where he subsequently directed a hostel for homeless boys. During a trip abroad, he experienced a "conversion" while listening to a sermon in an English village church. From this experience he formulated ideas that constituted a basic part of his movement: a Christian renaissance based on absolute love, honesty, purity, and unselfishness. For five years he did evangelistic work among the students of Pennsylvania State College. He spoke at youth conferences and traveled in the U.S., Europe, and the Far East. Convinced that men must be approached individually in order to be converted to God, he introduced "house parties" at which men might, in an informal setting, be induced to amend their lives. The first important house party was held at Oxford in 1921, hence the name Oxford Group. Buchman described the movement as a "Christian revolution the aim of which is a new social order under the dictatorship of God." In 1938 he renamed it Moral Re-Armament, calling it a "God-guided campaign to prevent war by a moral and spiritual awakening." The activities of MRA, diminished during World War II, gained new popularity after 1945. MRA has been praised for its insistence on sincere devotion and personal commitment and denounced for its lack of emphasis on Christ. Buchman wrote extensively; among his publications are Moral Re-Armament (1938), Remaking the World (1948), and The World Rebuilt (1951).

Bibliography: f. e. mayer, The Religious Bodies of America (4th ed. St. Louis 1961). w. g. schwehn, What Is Buchmanism? (St. Louis 1940). w. h. clark, The Oxford Group: Its History and Significance (New York 1951).

[e. delaney]

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