James Morison

1816-1893. Founder of the Evangelical Union. Born at Bathgate, son of a Secession minister, he was educated at Edinburgh, licensed to preach by the United Secession Church* in 1839, and in the following year became minister of Clerk's Lane Church, Kilmarnock. His views on the universal nature of the Atonement soon led to suspension from the ministry of his denomination, but joined by three others, including his own father, he founded the Evangelical Union in 1843 (popularly known as Morisonians). His remarkable gifts as a preacher drew huge congregations, and this continued after he moved to Glasgow to become the first minister of Dundas Street Church, with which post he combined the principalship of the theological hall he established.

Initially regarded as a heretic, he became one of the most trusted and outstanding theologians of his time, a fact acknowledged by Glasgow University, which made him a D.D. in 1883. When he visited America he was warmly welcomed by the Cumberland Presbyterians,* who shared his dislike of strict Calvinism. His ministry is summarized on the monument erected to him in Glasgow. Among his published works was a remarkable exposition of Romans 9, a new edition of which was called for forty years later, and commentaries on Matthew (1870) and Mark (1873).

Early on, the Evangelical Union was joined by others leaving the Scottish Congregational Union. Four years after its jubilee, the Evangelical Union brought to its union with Scottish Congregationalists some ninety congregations, ranging from Orkney to Dumfriesshire.

See H. Escott, A History of Scottish Congregationalism (1960).