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Robert William Dale

1829-1895. Congregational preacher. Of Nonconformist background, he was graduated at London with a first class degree in philosophy (1853). Dale started his career as a schoolmaster, but soon turned to the ministry, becoming in 1853 pastor at Carr's Lane Chapel, Birmingham, where for several decades he exerted a powerful influence upon the religious, educational, and social life of the city. In politics a Liberal of forthright views, he pioneered social work, especially among the young, opposed the imposition of oaths upon members of Parliament, fought religious education in state schools, and joined effectively in every controversy of the day. Dale published many theological books and tracts, and is remembered particularly for his fine work on The Atonement (1875) in which, though critical of the legalistic views of some theologians, he saw in the death of our Lord the sole ground of man's reconciliation with God. Though he upheld conditional immortality, Dale never minimized the seriousness of sin and so the need for God's forgiveness. He strenuously opposed extreme Calvinism and the High Church movement, but cooperated in revival meetings with D.L. Moody.* His books remained in wide use long after his death.

See A.W.W. Dale (his son), The Life of R.W. Dale of Birmingham (1898); and L.H. Hough, Dr. Dale after Twenty-Five Years (1922).