Henry Orton Wiley

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Henry Orton Wiley (1877–1961) was a Christian theologian primarily associated with the followers of John Wesley who are part of the Holiness movement. A member of the Church of the Nazarene, his "magnum opus" was the three volume systematic theology Christian Theology (ISBN 0-8341-0332-X).

Early Life and education[edit]

Henry Orton Wiley was born in Marquette, Nebraska on November 15, 1877. The Wiley family moved to California in April 1886, then to Oregon in 1893. H. Orton Wiley graduated from Medford High School in Oregon on May 31, 1895. In his last year of high school, Wiley was employed at a local drugstore and began the study of Pharmacy and was awarded his certificate of Pharmacy by the Oregon State Board of Pharmaceutics on March 9, 1897. He later received a diploma in Pharmacy in 1897 from the National Institute of Pharmacy in Chicago, Illinois. Wiley converted to Christianity in 1895. Wiley met his wife, Alice, while working at his father's store. They were married in 1902. Wiley decided to further his education and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Pacific in 1910 and also a Bachelor of Divinity from Pacific Theological Seminary the same year.

Career in education[edit]

In 1910, Wiley was elected dean of the Deets Pacific Bible College under President Phineas F. Bresee. Wiley was asked by President Phineas F. Bresee to write the first catalog for the college. In it, Wiley defended the role of the Christian liberal arts college, emphasizing its roles as a cultural custodian and promoter of spiritual intensity.

Later, Wiley would himself become president of Nazarene University in 1913, but leave in 1916 to become president of the Idaho-Oregon Holiness School, which would be renamed Northwest Nazarene College under Wiley's leadership.[1] He would leave Idaho to become president in California again in 1927 until leaving again in 1928, and was president at Pasadena one more time from 1933 to 1949.

Upon arriving at the Idaho-Oregon Holiness School, Wiley was offered a notable ten-year contract as president, during which he published the first Oasis yearbook and Nazarene Messenger, wrote a standard three-volume theological statement of the Church of the Nazarene and “guided the school between Scylla of emotionalism and the Charybdis of formalism.”[2] His leadership pushed the upstart institution to become a liberal arts school, a dream represented through changing the school’s name to Northwest Nazarene College.


The H. Orton Wiley House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in part for its association with Wiley.


  1. ^ Ingersol, Stan. "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  2. ^ Riley, John (March 1988). From sagebrush to Ivy: The Story of Northwest Nazarene College... 1913-1988. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kirkemo, Ron (1992). For Zion's Sake: A History of Pasadena/Point Loma College. San Diego: Point Loma Press.
  • Price, J. Matthew. We Teach Holiness: The Life and Work of H. Orton Wiley (1877-1961). Holiness Data Ministry Digital Edition, 29 September 2006. [1]
  • Price, Ross (1984). H.Orton Wiley--The Man and His Ministry. The Wiley Lectures for 1984, given at Point Loma Nazarene University. San Diego: Point Loma Press.

External links[edit]