Arthur Tappan Pierson

Arthur Tappan Pierson bigraphy, stories - Evangelical pastor and author

Arthur Tappan Pierson : biography

March 6, 1837 – June 3, 1911

Arthur Tappan Pierson (March 6, 1837 – June 3, 1911) was an American Presbyterian pastor, early fundamentalist leader, and writer who preached over 13,000 sermons, wrote over fifty books, and gave Bible lectures as part of a transatlantic preaching ministry that made him famous in Scotland and England. He was a consulting editor for the original "Scofield Reference Bible" (1909) for his friend, C. I. Scofield and was also a friend of D. L. Moody, George Müller (whose biography ‘George Muller of Bristol’ he wrote), Adoniram Judson Gordon, and C. H. Spurgeon, whom he succeeded in the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, from 1891 to 1893. Throughout his career, Pierson filled several pulpit positions around the world as an urban pastor who cared passionately for the poor.

Pierson was also a pioneer advocate of faith missions who was determined to see the world evangelized in his generation. Prior to 1870, there had been only about 2000 missionaries from the United States in full-time service, roughly ten percent of whom had engaged in work among Native Americans. A great movement of foreign missions began in the 1880s and accelerated into the 20th century, in some measure due to the work of Pierson.Robert (2003), page needed He acted as the elder statesman of the student missionary movement and was the leading evangelical advocate of foreign missions in the late 19th century.

Published works

  • The Crisis of Missions (New York, 1886)
  • Many Infallible Proofs: Chapters on the Evidences of Christianity (1886)
  • Evangelistic Work in Principle and Practise (1887)
  • Keys to the Word: or, Helps to Bible Study (1887)
  • The Divine Enterprise of Missions (1891)
  • Miracles of Missions (4 vols., 1891–1901)
  • The Divine Art of Preaching (1892)
  • From the Pulpit to the Palm-Branch: Memorial of Charles H. Spurgeon (1892)
  • The Heart of the Gospel (sermons; 1892)
  • New Acts of the Apostles (1894)
  • LifePower: or, Character Culture, and Conduct (1895)
  • Lessons in the School of Prayer (1895)
  • Acts of the Holy Spirit (1895)
  • The Coming of the Lord (1896)
  • Shall we continue in Sin? (1897)
  • In Christ Jesus: or, The Sphere of the Believer’s Life (1898)
  • Catharine of Siena, an ancient Lay Preacher (1898)
  • George Muller of Bristol and his Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God (1899)
  • Forward Movements of the last half Century (1900)
  • Seed Thoughts for Public Speakers (1900)
  • The Modern Mission Century viewed as a Cycle of Divine Working (1901)
  • The Gordian Knot: or, The Problem which baffles Infidelity (1902)
  • The Keswick Movement in Precept and Practice (1903)
  • God’s Living Oracles (1904)
  • The Bible and Spiritual Criticism (1906)
  • The Bible and Spiritual Life (1908)
  • Godly Self-control (1909)


Pierson was the ninth child of Stephen and Sallie Pierson, a family with strong Christian and abolitionist roots. Born in New York City, he was named after Arthur Tappan, the famous New York abolitionist.

While attending a Methodist revival meeting in 1850 at the age of 13, he first publicly professed faith in Jesus Christ.

He graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York in 1857, and Union Theological Seminary (1869).

In 1860, he had married Sarah Frances Benedict; they had seven children, all of whom professed conversion to Christianity before the age of 15 and later served as missionaries, pastors, or lay leaders.

At the age of forty, while serving as pastor of the largest church in Detroit, he attended a series of evangelistic messages and realized he was prideful and greedy, and had sought the approval of the rich. As a result, he led his wealthy congregation to reach out to the poor of Detroit. He then moved to banish the practice of pew rents and committed to accept his salary on a faith basis.