Donald Barnhouse

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Donald Grey Barnhouse on the cover of Eternity magazine in its memorial issue tribute to the magazine's founder, March 1961

Donald Grey Barnhouse (March 28, 1895 – November 5, 1960), was an American Christian preacher, pastor, theologian, radio pioneer, and writer. He was pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1927 to his death in 1960. As a pioneer in radio broadcasting, his program, The Bible Study Hour, continues today and is now known as Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible.


Barnhouse pastored the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1927 until his death in 1960.[1]

He was a pioneer in preaching over the radio; his program was known as The Bible Study Hour.[2] His broadcasts were taped, and today the program continues to air as Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible. In 1949, he began a weekly, in-depth study of the Book of Romans on his program, which lasted until his death in 1960. He also wrote many articles and books. For many years, Barnhouse held a Bible class on Monday evenings at St. Luke's Lutheran Church near Times Square in Manhattan, which lasted until his death.

In 1931, Barnhouse began publishing Revelation, a magazine which published his sermons, expositions, and religious interpretations of current events. Revelation was published until 1950.[3] Barnhouse also founded Eternity magazine in 1950 and was editor-in-chief of the monthly publication.[2] He wrote a "Window on the World" column for each issue between 1931 and 1960 and discussed contemporary concerns from a biblical perspective.[1] In September 1956, Eternity magazine published his article, "Are the Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" He answered affirmatively, but in the past, he had excluded them for some of their teachings.

The article was described as a "blockbuster" by his wife, Margaret Barnhouse, in her biography, That Man Barnhouse (1983). She wrote that the "reaction was immediate: outraged canceling of subscriptions or grateful commendation because [he] had the courage to... admit he had been wrong in the past about the Adventists."[1] Along with fellow evangelical Walter Martin, Barnhouse argued that the "Adventists hold all the basic doctrines of Christianity" with some heterodox teachings.[4] Eternity published a cover story and memorial issue tribute to Barnhouse shortly after his death.

C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. Surgeon General, attended the Tenth Presbyterian Church for more than twenty years. He said of Barnhouse:

"His authoritative voice held my attention, his physical appearance was arresting, and his preaching was teaching of the highest intellectual order ... I always marveled at the simplicity of the faith of this very intelligent and learned man."[1]

Personal life[edit]

Barnhouse was born March 28, 1895, in Watsonville, California. His parents were Theodore and Jennie Carmichael Barnhouse. After graduating high school, he enrolled at the Biola Institute, in 1912. He also studied at the University of Chicago and Princeton Theological Seminary. He enlisted in the army in 1917 before completing his studies at Princeton. First Lieutenant Barnhouse of the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps was ordained in April 1918 by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.[3]

Barnhouse married Ruth, and they had four children: sons Donald Jr. and David, and daughters Ruth and Dorothy.[1] Wife Ruth died of cancer in 1944.

Several years later, he married his second wife Margaret (née Nuckols) Bell, the widow of Douglas Bell. They made their home on an 82-acre (33 ha) farm near Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Donald Grey Barnhouse died in a Philadelphia hospital one month after being diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor.


Many of the books authored by Donald Grey Barnhouse have been re-published since his death, some in their tenth or more printing.[1] Some of his works include:

  • Acts (1979), Zondervan
  • Bible Truth Illustrated (1979), Keats
  • The Cross Through the Open Tomb (1961), Eerdmans Publishing
  • Genesis (1970), Zondervan, 2 vols.
  • God's Methods for Holy Living (1949), Revelation Publications
  • Guaranteed Deposits (1949), Revelation Publications
  • The Invisible War (1965), Zondervan
  • Let Me Illustrate (1967), Revell
  • Revelation (1971), Zondervan
  • Romans (1982), Eerdmans Publishing, 4 vols.
  • Teaching the Word of Truth (1940), Eerdmans Publishing
  • Thessalonians (1977), Zondervan
  • Words Fitly Spoken (1969), Tyndale House Publishers
  • Your Right to Heaven (1977), Baker Book House


The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has a large collection of Barnhouse’s papers including correspondence, photographs and audio records documenting his personal and professional life. The collection includes materials from his media ventures including his broadcasts and the magazines Revelation and Eternity. The material includes sermons, radio scripts, correspondences, articles, and a diary of his personal life. The Barnhouse collection also includes photographs that depict his family, friends, ministry and travels.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Margaret N. Barnhouse (1983). That Man Barnhouse. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House. ISBN 0-8423-7033-1.
  2. ^ a b "Donald Grey Barnhouse" (biography) Archived 2007-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
  3. ^ a b Donald Grey Barnhouse Papers Finding Aid ""
  4. ^ Richard Mouw (November 2006). "Shoot-First Apologetics: What a dead bluebird taught Walter Martin about defending the faith". Christianity Today.

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Marcus A. Brownson
Senior Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church
Succeeded by