200 Years of United Methodism
An Illustrated History

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Building colleges continued to be an important part of the churches' task during the 1866-1918 period, while at the same time a number of schools were loosening their denominational ties. By 1880 northern Methodism had 44 colleges and universities. Both the United Brethren and Evangelical churches founded institutions of higher learning after the Civil War. The Methodist Protestants counted colleges in Michigan, North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas. Vanderbilt University was established by southern Methodists in Nashville in 1875. Later its ties to the church were cut because, among other reasons, Andrew Carnegie was not willing to give money to a university controlled by what he called a "sect." This tendency toward the secularization of church colleges was noticed before the Civil War by Heman Bangs, who resigned in 1853 as a trustee of Wesleyan University in Connecticut because certain trustees were trying "to drive a religious predominance from the University."

While Heman Bangs was saying, "If we cannot have a religious education I desire no education at all," others argued, "it would be suicidal to require all" preachers to undergo theological education. "Give me the evangelist and the revivalist," cried southern Methodist Bishop George F. Pierce, "rather than the erudite brother who goes into the pulpit to interpret modern science instead of preaching repentance and faith." Regardless of Pierce and Company, the department of theology at Vanderbilt became southern Methodism's first seminary in 1875. The Methodist Protestants had a theological school at Westminster, Maryland. Union Biblical Seminary was opened by the United Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871. Its first woman, the wife of a student, was graduated in 1883. The Evangelical Association founded Union Biblical Institute in Naperville, Illinois, in 1876. By 1880 northern Methodism had eleven theological seminaries and institutes.

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