Alexander Maclaren

1826-1910. Baptist minister. Born in Glasgow to Baptist parents, he was baptized in 1840 and trained at Stepney College. He ministered successfully at Portland Chapel, Southampton (1846-58), and Union Chapel, Manchester (1858-1903), where he acquired the reputation of “the prince of expository preachers.” His sermons drew vast congregations and his methods of subdivision and analogies drawn from nature and life have been widely imitated ever since. In the pulpit he expounded evangelical certainties, yet his writings and private conversations show him prepared to accept a critical position. His attitudes are thus ambiguous, though Spurgeon* excepted him from the “Downgraders.” Maclaren was twice president of the Baptist Union and chairman of its Twentieth Century Fund and the first president of the Baptist World Alliance* (1905). He strove unsuccessfully to unite the Baptist and Congregational denominations, but saw the establishment of many “Union” churches at a local level.