August Rauschenbusch (1816-1899), German and American theologian, was born 13 February 1816, at Altena, Westphalia, Germany, the son of Dr. August Ernst Rauschenbusch, descendant of five generations of Lutheran pastors. He served as German professor at the Rochester Baptist Theological Seminary, Rochester, New York, 1858-70. August Rauschenbusch began his service as a Lutheran pastor in 1840, and resigned in 1845 to go to America to serve the large number of German immigrants there, working under the American Tract Society 1846-53. In 1850 he joined the Baptist Church, of which he remained a member until his death. In 1851 on a 5-week trip to Ontario, he met the Mennonites. His biographer refers to this visit as follows: "The contact with the numerous Mennonites of that region served a preparatory purpose. The moral seriousness and the church life of the Mennonites had had a significant influence, but they lacked spiritual power; they had no mission work and did not insist on conversion, so that none of those reached by the Awakening joined them. Only their preacher Daniel Hoch preached repentance at that time and he therefore met much opposition" (p. 168).
Rauschenbusch early became interested in the history of baptism and also of Anabaptism. In 1868/69 he visited numerous university libraries doing research on Anabaptist history, preparatory to writing a comprehensive work, visiting also Professor C. A. Cornelius in Munich, whose work on Münster he admired. He adopted the correct theory of the origin of Anabaptism in the Reformation period in contrast to the widely prevalent Baptist construction of Anabaptism as a part of a chain of apostolic succession. He never produced his intended history of Anabaptism but did write a number of articles in encyclopedias and journals, among them articles on the history of the Baptists, Mennonites, and Tunkers for Schem's Deutsch-Amerikanisches Konversations-Lexikon (New York, 1873). J. G. de Hoop Scheffer published in the Doopsgezinde Bijdragen for 1873, pp. 23-29, an article on the Mennonites in North America, based upon the above article by "my good friend A. Rauschenbusch," which the latter had sent him. The German Mennonite Gemeindeblatt published in its issue of November 1884 (pp. 84 f.) a reprint of Rauschenbusch's article from the same Lexikon entitled "Geschichte der Mennoniten in den Niederlanden, Westpreussen, Russland und der Schweiz." The Mennonitische Blätter of 1 August 1888 (pp. 89 f.), published an original article by Rauschenbusch, "Verfolgung der Täufer in Salzburg im Oktober und November 1557." His major historical work was Die Entstehung der Kindertaufe in dritten Jahrhundert nach Christi und die Wiedereinführung der biblischen Taufe im 17. Jahrhundert nach Christi (Hamburg, 1897, sec. enlarged edition, 1898).
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 430-32.
Leben und Wirken von August Rauschenbusch, angefangen von ihm selbst, vollendet und herausgegeben von seinem Sohne Walter Rauschenbusch. Cassel, 1901.
|Author(s)||Harold S Bender|
 Cite This Article
Bender, Harold S. "Rauschenbusch, August (1816-1899)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 2 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rauschenbusch,_August_(1816-1899)&oldid=106504.
Bender, Harold S. (1959). Rauschenbusch, August (1816-1899). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rauschenbusch,_August_(1816-1899)&oldid=106504.
Herald Press website.
©1996-2014 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.