Bestvater, William J. (1879-1969)

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William and Helena Bestvater.
Source: Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

William J. Bestvater, born 26 July 1879, died 29 September 1969, was well-known pastor, teacher, and itinerant Mennonite Brethren minister. He was born in Alexanderthal in Russia to Jacob and Katherina (Penner) Bestvater. He migrated to Mountain Lake, Minnesota in 1894. After his conversion he was baptized and became a member of the Bethel Mennonite Church. He married Helena Janzen on 12 August 1900; together they attended Light and Hope Bible Institute in Cleveland. They were rebaptized by immersion in Lake Erie and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church on their return to Mountain Lake. Subsequent years were spent in a variety of pastoral, itinerant Bible teaching, and school teaching assignments. These included approximately eight years in the Winnipeg Mennonite Brethren city mission and nine years as instructor at the Herbert Bible School. He wrote several textbooks for Bible schools, an exposition of the book of Revelation, numerous articles in the Zionsbote, and a pamphlet called Zeugnis der Schrift. Bestvater was probably best known for his strong dispensational eschatology, and his influence on North American Mennonite Brethren in this regard was considerable.


Bestvater, William J. Textbüchlein in Bible-kunde far Deutsche Bibelschulen. Regina, SK: Courier Press, n.d.

Bestvater, William J. Textbüchlein fir Glaubenslehre für die Herbert Bibelschule. Regina, SK: Courier Press, n.d.

Bestvater, William J. Betrachtungen über das letzte Buch der Bibel. Hillsboro, KS: Mennonite Brethren Publishing House, 1919.

Redekop, Anna Rose. "Amazing Grace: Biography of William J. Bestvater." Unpublished MS, n.d.

Epp, Frank H. Mennonites in Canada, 1920-1940: A People's Struggle for Survival. Toronto: Macmillan, 1982: 55, 84-85.

Springer, Nelson and Klassen, A. J., compilers, Mennonite Bibliography, 1631-1961, 2 vols. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1977 II, p. 421 and entry no. 309.

Archives collection at Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

Author(s) Abe J Dueck
Date Published 1986

Cite This Article

MLA style

Dueck, Abe J. "Bestvater, William J. (1879-1969)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1986. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_William_J._(1879-1969)&oldid=130777.

APA style

Dueck, Abe J. (1986). Bestvater, William J. (1879-1969). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_William_J._(1879-1969)&oldid=130777.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 72. All rights reserved.

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