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McIntyre, David Martin (1859–1938), theologian and pastor, was born in the Free Church manse, Monikie, Forfar, on 2 January 1859, the son of the Revd Malcolm McIntyre (1819–1903), Free Church of Scotland minister at Monikie, and his wife, Mary Ann, née Miller (1829–1862). He experienced an evangelical conversion as a youth. He matriculated at the University of Edinburgh in 1876 in the arts faculty. While a student he served as an assistant to Dr John Kelman at St John's Free Church, Leith, and as superintendent at the Mission to Seamen in Dundee.

In 1881 McIntyre entered New College, Edinburgh, with a view to ordination in the Free Church ministry. Between 1882 and 1884 he studied at Queen College, the English Presbyterian college in London. During this period he served an assistantship with the Revd W. Burton Alexander of Whitefield Church, Drury Lane, and worked with Willesden Presbyterian church, under the ministry of W. G. Elmslie, first at the church's outreach to railwaymen at the Railway Institute, Willesden Junction, then as missionary to a church extension project at College Park, Kensal Rise. He returned to Edinburgh to complete his studies between 1884 and 1886. Although hoping to begin his ministerial career in a country parish, and despite craving further time to study, he accepted a call to College Park Church, raised by the North London presbytery in 1885 to a fully sanctioned charge, and was ordained on 8 July 1886. The congregation grew under his ministry and the presbytery viewed the church as a model for mission to the urban working class.

In 1891 McIntyre became associate minister to Andrew Bonar at Finnieston Free Church of Scotland (after 1900, Finnieston United Free Church and after 1929, Finnieston Church of Scotland). As a young Christian, McIntyre had read Bonar's The Gospel Pointing to the Person of Christ and later pointed to the Christocentric devotionalism of this book as the foundation of his theological method. He enjoyed a warm relationship of mutual respect with Bonar who, shortly before McIntyre's appointment, had expressed a private wish that his successor might ‘be a man of God, most earnest to do faithfully the whole work of the ministry, and holding fast the old truth, the everlasting Gospel’ (Bonar, 307–8). On Bonar's death in December 1892, McIntyre became minister, and in the following year married Bonar's third daughter, Jane Christian (1862–1940). They had no children.

The church at Finnieston flourished under McIntyre's leadership and the congregation held him in high regard. He became known throughout Glasgow for his preaching and support of mission. His congregation included notable figures such as George F. Graham Brown, future Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, Nicol MacNicol, Free Church missionary to Bombay, and Gilbert Dawson, general secretary of Sudan United Mission.

From 1898 McIntyre acted as a trustee of the interdenominational Bible Training Institute (BTI) of Glasgow, one of the first institutions for lay theological education in Britain. When John Anderson, the first principal of BTI, retired in 1913, McIntyre succeeded him. He assumed this role reluctantly, initially intending to remain for only five years. His heart remained with pastoral ministry but, he wrote in the magazine of Finnieston Free Church,
I comforted myself with two reflections … that I was able to do almost as much ministerial work as if I had remained in the regular pastorate … [and] that our Lord seems to have spent as much of His ministry in the training of the Twelve as in public exhortation. (Tidings, June 1936, minute book of the session of Finnieston United Free Church)
He combined both jobs until William Simpson was appointed as minister of Finnieston in 1915. McIntyre continued as senior minister until his death.

During McIntyre's principalship at BTI, 935 full-time students enrolled, many becoming foreign missionaries, and over 6000 attended evening classes, which were open to the public. In the 1920s he founded and edited The King's Writ which endeavoured to provide high quality Bible studies and apologetical articles for students, alumni, and supporters of the institute. He continued as principal of BTI until his death. He increased the range of lectures available at the college and encouraged the wide range of practical mission work which fell under the institute's auspices, including a medical clinic and evangelistic meetings. The University of Glasgow conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of divinity in 1924.

McIntyre gained national repute as the author of numerous theologically rich devotional works. His first two books, including his most popular, The Hidden Life of Prayer (1907), were published during his time at Finnieston, but he wrote the majority of his books, including his four-part Christology series (Christ the Lord, 1932; Christ the Way, 1933; Christ the Crucified, 1935; and Christ the Life, 1937) during his principalship. In these writings he was firmly committed to the preservation of orthodoxy and reverence in theological studies and the divine inspiration of the Scriptures in the face of higher criticism. He complained that ‘so much of what is commonly called “Biblical science” is concerned with things which lie far away from the centre’ (The King's Writ, 3, 1927–8, 122–30). He deliberately avoided sectarian controversies. While ‘staunch in his support of evangelical fundamentals’, he was ‘a progressive conservative in doctrine, and no partisan to any labels of theology’ (Davidson, 13). Medieval mysticism, puritanism, evangelical pietism, and the early church fathers particularly influenced his theology. He contributed to the first two volumes of the Evangelical Quarterly (1929) and participated in many evangelical conventions.

McIntyre straddled two eras of conservative evangelical piety. On the one hand books such as The Hidden Life of Prayer (1907) looked back to the romanticism of the late Victorian era, but on the other hand his commitment to improving the quality of evangelical theological training and his desire to provide a rational defence of orthodox beliefs against sceptical liberalism looked forward to the mid-century renewal of conservative evangelical intellectual life. His combination of warm piety and irenic erudition allowed him to act as a ‘steadying influence’ in early twentieth-century conservative evangelicalism (Tidings, June 1936, 4). He was quietly spoken, with a ‘sweet, serene temper’, such that his colleagues once complained that ‘we could never get him to denounce anyone’ (Bruce, 300). He died at the Bible Training Institute, Glasgow, on 8 March 1938, after suffering from bronchitis.

Molly Elizabeth House Spence and Martin Spence

Sources  

F. Davidson, ‘Biographical prologue’, in D. M. McIntyre, The hidden life of prayer, 2nd edn. (1993) · session minutes, 1857–1963, Mitchell L., Glas., archives of Finnieston United Free Church [also includes newspaper cuttings, ministerial anniversary and commemorative brochures] · The Christian (17 March 1938) · The Scotsman (9 March 1938) · The Times (12 March 1938) · magazines, minutes, memorabilia, International Christian College, Glasgow, archives of the Bible Training Institute · N. Needham, ‘McIntyre, David’, Dictionary of Scottish church history and theology, ed. N. M. de S. Cameron (1993) · student register, U. Edin., New Coll. · archives, U. Glas. · depository of English Presbyterian College, Queen's Park, London, United Reformed Church History Society, London · F. F. Bruce, In retrospect: remembrance of things past (1980); rev. edn (1993) · Andrew A. Bonar … diary and letters, ed. M. Bonar (1894) · D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in modern Britain: a history from the 1730s to the 1980s (1989) · www.monikie.org.uk/kirkyard.htm, accessed on 28 Sept 2011 · b. cert.

Archives  

International Christian College, Glasgow, archives of the Bible Training Institute · Mitchell L., Glas., archives of Finnieston United Free Church, CH3/480