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Lewis, Edwin


Methodist theologian and pioneer in mediating the European neo-orthodox movement to America; b. New-bury, England, April 18, 1881; d. Morristown, N.J., Nov. 28, 1959. At age 19 he went to Newfoundland, Canada, and entered the ministry. In 1904 he moved to the United States, where he served pastorates in North Dakota, New Jersey, and New York. Lewis received his higher education at several schools; he earned his A.B. (1915) at New York State College, Albany, and his Th.D. (1918) at Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N.J. At Drew he was professor of systematic theology for 35 years. Lewis's first book, Jesus Christ and the Human Quest (1924), revealed him as an evangelical liberal. His A Christian Manifesto (1934) indicated a shift; he proclaimed the gospel as understandable only in terms of revelation, comprehensible only as an act of faith. His reorientation developed from intensive Bible study while coediting the Abingdon Bible Commentary combined with the influence of crisis theologians whom he both expounded and criticized. His persistent, basic sympathy with the concerns of liberals, however, prevents his being identified with radical neo-orthodoxy. In retirement beginning in 1951, he lectured widely, wrote 60 articles for Harpers' Bible Dictionary, and completed his 12th and 13th books.

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