David Seamands, author, scholar and leader in evangelical renewal movements within the United Methodist Church was born in India to Methodist missionary parents and spent much of his boyhood there. He graduated from Asbury College, Drew Theological Seminary and the Hartford Seminary Foundation. He also received honorary degrees from both Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Helen, served as United Methodist missionaries in India from 1946 until 1962.
"Sixty-seven years ago, I first met David Seamands," recalled Dennis Kinlaw, former president of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. "I wanted to be a Christian because of persons like David Seamands. Edwin Lewis, one of the seminal minds of Methodism in that era [1930s], wanted David to go on for Ph.D. work in theology. But David had another call - the obscurity of India. For 16 years his heart and life were given there."
When Seamands returned to the United States in 1962, he was appointed as pastor of the Wilmore United Methodist Church where he served for 22 years. Tapes of his sermons were sent by the tens of thousands around the world, and free to hundreds of missionaries overseas. Additional tens of thousands of his tapes dealing with the subject of damaged emotions were circulated before his book, Healing for Damaged Emotions (1.1 million sold), was ever published. In all, Seamands' seven books have sold more than two million copies. He was a pioneer in the field of Christian counseling and was recognized as such at the 1992 Congress of Christian Counseling where, together with James Dobson, Larry Crabb and Gary Collins, he received the special "Paraklesis" Award. He and Helen were pioneers in the Marriage Enrichment and Engaged Discovery movements and led over 2200 couples through these special weekend experiences.
Upon his retirement from the local ministry in 1984, he taught pastoral care at Asbury Theological Seminary. From 1988 to 1992, he was appointed as the Dean of the Chapel at Asbury.
Seamands was also a delegate to six General Conferences, beginning in 1976. At four of those he presented the minority report for the legislative section dealing with issues of human sexuality. He also was responsible for the founding of the Evangelical Missions Council. In 1983 The Mission Society for United Methodists was organized.
Just prior to his death, an April 13, 2006 post, compiled by Ted Olson on the Christianity Today Weblog, entitled "Two Sad Resignations", stated Seamands as having, "told Wilmore United Methodist Church on Sunday. 'In response to a complaint filed against me of sexual misconduct with an adult female occurring over a number of years, I admit that I have broken my covenantal relationships and have abused the trust of those I have harmed.'" At the time of his death, some 3 months later, he was undergoing a "one-year leave from all ministerial functions" as part of church-imposed discipline.
David Seamands died on July 31, 2006. He was 84.
- Healing for damaged emotions (1981)
- Healing grace (1988)
- Healing of memories (1985)
- Putting away childish things (1982)