John Bachman
20-23 April 2006
"Nature, God & Social Reform in the Old South"
The Life & Work of the
Rev. John Bachman
An International Symposium
in Honor of the


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Newberry College

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Charlotte NC


President Emeritus
Newberry College
Retired, Hickory NC

for Raymond W. Bost

Attending The Citadel for a year before entering the United States Marine Corps, Raymond W. Bost transferred his educational pursuits to Lenoir-Rhyne College upon returning from the military.  At Lenoir-Rhyne he met Margaret M. Vedder; the Bosts have four adult children.

Bost received a B.A. in History from Lenoir-Rhyne and enrolled at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, where he earned the first degree in theology.  Ordained as a Lutheran pastor, he served congregations in the Carolinas before enrolling at Yale University where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Religion, the field of concentration being Church History. He accepted a position at LTSS involving half-time administration and half-time teaching. Moving from the seminary to Lenoir-Rhyne College, he served as Academic Dean and President there before accepting the presidency of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Returning to the Carolinas to accept appointment as Historian for the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, Bost served as co-author of a narrative history, All One Body: The  Story of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod, 1803-1993.  He also chaired the Committee on Historical Work as it prepared and published Life Sketches of Lutheran Clergy, North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Antecedents, 1773-1999.  His essays have been published by The Lutheran Quarterly, Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly and in the Proceedings of the Lutheran Historical Conference.  He edited Lutheranism with a Southern Accent for the Lutheran Historical Conference.

At the request of Newberry College, he returned from “retirement” to serve in succession as Academic Dean, as Director for the Center for Ethical Development, and as President. In retirement he has also served as Archivist for the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina and as a Development Associate for LTSS, and as President Emeritus at Newberry College.

Raymond W. Bost


Finding winters in New York taking a toll on his health, John Bachman moved south and spent most of his adult life in Charleston, South Carolina. There he served as Pastor of Saint John's Lutheran Church, as a conspicuous leader in the Lutheran Synod of South Carolina,  as a catalyst for educational advance for his denomination in the Palmetto State, and as the unifying personality whose persistent work as a naturalist and whose skill in group dynamics enabled several Charleston-area naturalists to meet together over the years, share their research and stimulate one another to persist in their research.

Most of the facts about this talented leader are readily accessible, but the great mystery concerning this notable South Carolinian-by-adoption is his undergraduate alma mater. Two persons who were early associated with the clergyman and naturalist tried to provide him with a college affiliation but neither of those early attempts was successful in giving him an enduring educational home base.  Yet he is appropriately regarded as the key figure in founding a graduate school of theology and a liberal arts college, the one celebrating its 175th anniversary this year and the other its 150th.

One of the earliest indications of Bachman’s interest in education came when he learned the then-only Lutheran synod in the South, that in North Carolina, was developing a theological seminary in East Tennessee.  Although not a member of the North Carolina body, Bachman was quick to dispatch a congratulatory letter to the North Carolina Lutherans on their initiative and assure them that the congregation he served in Charleston would certainly want to help support their undertaking.  After Lutherans in South Carolina created their own synod, they promptly elected Bachman the President of their body and he promptly began urging on them the importance of creating a school for the preparing of their ordained leaders.  Following his leadership, the South Carolina Synod created a theological school before the Synod itself was five years old!

The hope that the creation of a theological school would alleviate for South Carolina Lutherans the serious shortage of appropriately credentialed clergy was not realized. Increasingly it became apparent that not having their own college to serve as a feeder for the seminary was a serious deficiency, so on the eve of the Nation’s great trauma in the 1860s, Pastor John Bachman led his South Carolina colleagues in creating what today is known as Newberry College.

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