Suckau, Cornelius H. (1881-1951)

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Cornelius Herman Suckau: minister and college administrator; born 23 January 1881 to John Suckau (2 April 1851 - 18 December 1917) and Marie (Andres) Suckau (5 July 1852 - 8 June 1892) on a farm near Newton, Kansas. Cornelius married Lulu Ozelma Gertrude Johnson (25 August 1885 - 10 December 1962) on 24 June 1909 in Lynnville, Iowa and they had two children, John and Edna. Cornelius Suckau died 12 November 1951.

Cornelius was baptized 29 May 1898 in Newton, Kansas and graduated from Bethel College Academy. His call to mission work came while he taught school in the Newton area.

After three years of training at the Union Missionary Training Institute of Brooklyn, New York, he married fellow graduate Lulu Johnson in 1909. In August 1909 they entered General Conference Mennonite mission work in India; in 1914 they were appointed to open the mission station at Korba, Madhya Pradesh, India. Suckau was an energetic but independent missionary evangelist. His fundamentalist views led to tensions between him, his co-workers, and the General Conference. After the family's furlough in 1928 he was not reappointed, at least in part because of a health problem.

His 15-year tenure at First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana was marked by a strong but controversial emphasis on dispensationalism, pre-millennialism, and eternal security. The congregation gained 270 members.

Suckau, like others, was critical of modernist leanings in General Conference Mennonite schools like Bethel and Bluffton and felt that many Mennonite youth were either being corrupted by these schools' liberal teachings or choosing to go to non-Mennonite schools like Wheaton College and Moody Bible Institute. Suckau and others believed that a new Mennonite Bible school needed to be formed that could restore Mennonite orthodoxy and be solely committed to studying Scripture and producing workers and missionaries for ministries throughout the world. In October 1943 Suckau resigned as pastor to become the president of the newly founded Grace Bible Institute (now Grace University), Omaha, Nebraska, serving from 1943 until 1950. Premillennail dispensationalism became a central tenet of the school, thanks in part to the strong convictions of Suckau.

See also Fundamentalism.


Janzen, Scott Steven. "A Church Divided: Fundamentalism and Bethesda Mennonite Church, Henderson, Nebraska, 1934-1950." Research paper, Bethel College, 2006. [Internet] Accessed 24 June 2006

Juhnke, James C. A People of Mission: A History of General Conference Mennonite Overseas Missions. Newton, KS: Faith and Life, 1979: 28, 94-96, 240.

Kuhlmann, Paul. The Story of Grace. Omaha, NE: Grace College of the Bible, Inc., 1980: 71.

Lehman, Naomi. Pilgrimage of a Congregation. Berne: First Mennonite Church, 1982: ch. 7.

Sprunger, Eva F. The First Hundred Years: A History of the Mennonite Church in Adams Co., Ind., 1838-1938. Berne, 1938: 236-38.

Steely, Jeff A. “Cornelius Herman Suckau: Mennonite Fundamentalist?” Mennonite Life 44 (March 1989): 15.

Yearbooks of First Mennonite Church, Berne, IN.

Archival Records

Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, KS. C. H. Suckau Papers, 1920-1945.

Author(s) Naomi E. Lehman
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published 1989, 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lehman, Naomi E. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Suckau, Cornelius H. (1881-1951)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989, 2006. Web. 20 Jul 2024.,_Cornelius_H._(1881-1951)&oldid=163003.

APA style

Lehman, Naomi E. and Richard D. Thiessen. (1989, 2006). Suckau, Cornelius H. (1881-1951). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 July 2024, from,_Cornelius_H._(1881-1951)&oldid=163003.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 861. All rights reserved.

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