Georg Sverdrup

1848-1907. American church leader. Of Norwegian origin, he studied theology in Oslo and at German universities. In 1874 he was called to America as a professor of theology at Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis. Norwegian immigrants to America were mainly Lutherans, but by theological and ecclesiastical persuasion they were divided in several organized church bodies. By family tradition Sverdrup had a liberal political outlook, and he did not believe in an authoritarian church system such as the one he had known in Norway.* He had accepted the ideal of “living” Christianity, and in his new country he felt convinced that this would prosper only in the frame of a free church with lay preaching and independent congregations. He became therefore the champion of the free- church ideal. The Norwegian Lutheran Church was founded in 1897 and organized according to Sverdrup's ideas. A six-volume edition of his works was published in 1909-12.