Tuesday, August 18, 2015

William Porcher Dubose

Today we commemorate William Porcher DuBose, the patron of this blog, who died on this day in 1918.

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher Dubose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 

DuBose was a native South Carolinian of Huguenot descent. He studied at the Citadel, where he experienced an encounter with Christ that changed his life:
"I lept to my feet trembling, and then that happened that I can only describe by saying that a light shone about me and a Presence filled the room. At the same time, ineffable joy and peace took possession of me which it is impossible to either express or explain."

DuBose  served in the Confederate Army, first as an adjutant, and later, after ordination, as a chaplain.  He was a prisoner of war for a short time early in the war.  After the war, DuBose served as Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ridgway, S.C. before accepting appointment in 1871 as a chaplain and professor of theology at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee.  He remained at Sewanee until his death in 1918, influencing many generations of students.

DuBose is arguable the greatest theologian produced by the Episcopal Church. (For my fellow Houstonians, John Hines, one-time Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and, before that, of the Diocese of Texas, said that the most influential theologian he ever read was Dubose.)  DuBose's "Southern High-Churchmanship" combined Tractarian and High Church theology with the social gospel message of F.D. Maurice and the best of contemporary biblical scholarship.   Some of his works are on line here: Project Canterbury | William Porcher DuBose.

God has placed forever before our eyes, not the image but the Very Person of the Spiritual Man. We have not to ascend into Heaven to bring Him down, nor to descend into the abyss to bring Him up, for He is with us, and near us, and in us. We have only to confess with our mouths that He is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead — and raised us in Him — and we shall live.
— Wm. Porcher Dubose

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