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AJ Gordon

A. J. Gordon

President 1889–1895

A. J. Gordon was born in a small community in New Hampshire. Early in life, Gordon felt a call to the ministry. After graduating first from Brown University and then from Newton Theological Institute, he pastored Jamaica Plain Baptist Church, in a suburb of Boston. He later went on to minister at the Clarendon Street Baptist Church, also in Boston.

Renowned reverend, theologian, evangelist, musician, writer and social activist, Dr. Gordon was in continual demand to speak at conferences, often with the famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody. He wrote several books (see below), several hymns and edited the journal “The Watchword.” The most famous of his hymn tunes is named Gordon, most often associated with the text by William Featherstone “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” As a young minister in Jamaica Plain during the last years of the Civil War, Dr. Gordon was an unwavering supporter of abolition. He believed in allowing women to take an equal role in spreading the gospel, and he supported women’s right to vote. He was also a strong advocate of the temperance movement.

Among (and perhaps because of) the host of other gifts and ministries A. J. Gordon pursued, he felt a call to provide education for people to work in the mission field. Gordon felt that all people, including women and people of color, should be able to receive a thorough education in matters of the Bible, theology and church history if the potential student felt they had a true calling to serve God and the church. So, in response to the great number of individuals in his community who did not have the opportunity for advanced learning and were not able to attend college or seminary, A.J. Gordon founded the school that was to become Gordon College, opening its doors to 16 students, including one young woman, in 1889. After Dr. Gordon’s death in 1895, the school voted to change its name from The Boston Missionary Training School to the Gordon Missionary Training School.

Significant Accomplishments:

+ Founded in 1889, Gordon’s Boston Missionary Training School welcomed men and women of all races to prepare for missions work.

+ Dr. Gordon took seriously Christ’s command to take care of the poor and needy. A vital component for the students at the new school was active work in serving underprivileged people.

+ Selected publications: Congregational Worship (1874); How Christ Came To Church: The Pastor's Dream : A Spiritual Autobiography (1895); In Christ; Or, The Believer's Union With His Lord (1872); The Ministry Of Healing: Miracles Of Cure In All Ages (1882); The Ministry Of The Spirit (1894); Yet Speaking: A Collection Of Addresses (1897)

Learn more at the A. J. Gordon Heritage Project

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