Irving, Edward

Irving, Edward, 1792–1834, Scottish preacher, under whose influence the Catholic Apostolic Church was founded; its members have sometimes been called Irvingites. He was tutor to Jane Welsh, later the wife of Thomas Carlyle, and became the friend of Carlyle. After serving as assistant (1819–22) to Thomas Chalmers in Glasgow, Irving was called to the Caledonian Church, London, where his oratory brought him great popularity; he and his congregation moved to the larger Regent Square Church in 1827. As his preaching began to emphasize the supernatural and the imminence of the second coming of Christ, criticism arose, especially over his views on the human nature of Christ. In 1832 he was debarred from the Regent Square Church; in 1833 he was deposed from the ministry of the Church of Scotland. Irving had, from 1826, been meeting with a group gathered together by Henry Drummond to study the prophecies of the Scriptures. From this “school of the prophets” was developed the Catholic Apostolic Church, of which Irving was an “angel,” or bishop.

See biography by M. O. W. Oliphant (1864); H. C. Whitney, Blinded Eagle (1955).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Protestant Christianity: Biographies