is one of the eminent figures in the so-called Free Church movement, whose adherents are generally known as Mission Friends. Moreover, he is the virtual founder of that branch of the Mission
Church known as the Swedish
Evangelical Free Mission, in con-
tradistinction to the other groups
of Mission churches, known as
the Mission Covenant and the
Swedish Congregationalists. The
part Princell has played as a
churchman having been dealt with
under its proper head in the his-
torical part of the present work,
this sketch is confined to the per-
sonal features of his eventful

John Gustaf Princell was born
in Tolg parish, Smaland, Sweden,

Sept. 18, 1845. In July, 1856,
he came with his parents to this
country. After a stay of a year
and three months in Chicago, the
family removed to Princeton, 111.,
where they lived for eight years.
In the fall of 1862, Princell,
then a youth of seventeen, went
to Chicago to enter the theolog-
ical seminary maintained by the
Augustana Synod. This step was
taken in connection with his spir-
itual regeneration, which took
place the same year. He preached
his first sermon on the last Sun-
day of the year in the Swedish
Lutheran Church of Princeton.
Shortly after his arrival in Chi-


cago he undertook to teach a class
of boys in the Sunday school of
the Immanuel Church. With his
pupils, who were almost his own
age, he succeeded remarkably well,
and as a result he was frequently
asked to preach or to read from
the pulpit sermons by Luther,


Cook County

Rambach and others. Upon the
removal of the school to Paxton,
Princell continued his studies there
up to the spring of 1867, when he
obtained a situation in the busi-
ness office of Hemlandet and the
Lutheran Publication Society in
Chicago. At New Year's, 1869,
he became associate editor of the
paper. He soon abandoned this
work owing to weak eyes, and
in the fall of that year he took
up studies at the old Chicago
University, continuing until the
following summer, meanwhile sup-
plying the pulpit of the Salem
Church. From the fall of 1870
to the spring of 1872 he pursued
studies at the German-American
Lutheran theological seminary in
Philadelphia. After graduating
from the latter institution, he was
ordained by the Pennsylvania Mi-
nisterium in May, 1872, and ac-
cepted a call from the Swedish
Lutheran Church in Campello,
Mass. Besides his duties in that
field, he carried on mission work
in Boston, preaching there every
Sunday evening. In January, 1873,
he assumed charge of the Gustaf
Adolf Church in New York City,
where he labored until the spring
of 1879. Both of these fields he
had visited frequently while a
student at Philadelphia.

At the annual meeting of the
Augustana Synod in 1878, Rev.
Princell was suspended from the
ministry for teachings at var-
iance with the Lutheran doctrine
of vicarious atonement. As early
as the later '6os he had come into
jntimate contact with the Mission

Friends in Chicago and in 1877
had wholly endorsed the doctrine
of atonement, as taught by Wal-
denstrom, which had created a
schism and defection in the Luth-
eran State Church of Sweden.
Later he also accepted the prin-
ciple to admit to membership in
in the church or participation in
the communion only such persons
as confessed actual conversion.

The suspension was for one
year, or until the next synodical
meeting. Princell, however, con-
tinued in charge of his church,
maintaining that as no notice or
warning had been given the action
was illegal, and, furthermore, that
as his church was not an integral
part of the synod, it had no weight.
The congregation was content to
have him remain as its pastor. At
the New Year's meeting of the
church, a resolution embodying
Princell' s idea of reform in the
matter of members and communi-
cants was submitted and carried.
But at an adjourned meeting held
a month later the same resolution
was reconsidered and voted down
by about 70 votes to 35. Rev.
Princell was invited to retain his
position under the old order of
things, but this he would not do,
so he resigned. When he left the
church three months later, 42 of its
members determined to withdraw,
and 27 of these, with the pastor,
organized the Bethesda Church in
Brooklyn on March 5. This action
marked the actual withdrawal of
Rev. Princell from the Swedish
Lutheran Augustana Synod, al-
though he did not preach his fare-



well sermon until two months

He labored in Brooklyn and
New York that spring, also visit-
ing Campello, where the pulpit
had been vacated and a defection
was going on. Shortly afterward
Princell was called to -the regular
Lutheran pastorate in Campello
and removed there just before
making a summer visit to Sweden.
On the first Sunday after his re-
turn in October he was forbidden
the pulpit and immediately re-
paired to a hall, where the free
brethren met. Thus, in an irreg-
ular manner the call was with"
drawn. Princell continued to
preach alternate weeks to the sep-
arated groups in Campello-Boston
and New York-Brooklyn until the
summer of 1880.

In the meantime two calls had
been extended to him one from
the Tabernacle Mission Church in
Minneapolis, the other from Ans-
garius College of Knoxville, 111.,
then under the control of an in-
dependent association. The latter
he accepted, continuing at the
head of this school until 1884,
when, owing to the dissolution of
the Ansgarius Synod, the institu-
tion ceased to exist. Thereupon
he was editor of Chicago- Bladet
for five years. In the fall of 1889
he began publishing a religious
monthly entitled Frihet och Frid,
dividing his time between that
publication and the vocation of a
traveling evangelist. In 1892 the
magazine was discontinued, Prin-
cell pursuing mission work exclu-
sively until 1894. Then, for two

years, he was pastor of the Free
Mission Church in Minneapolis,
but was compelled to abandon pas-
toral work owing to defective

When a Bible Institute was
opened in 1897, under the aus-
pices of the Free Mission, at Oak
St. Mission Hall in Chicago, Prin-
cell was engaged as the principal
lecturer, and is still continuing in
this work.

Rev. Princell is a scholarly gen-
tleman, who spends a large part
of his time in his own well-stocked
library. Besides his voluminous
contributions to the columns of
Chicago- Bladet, he has written a
History of the Jews (688 pp.) and
translated into English several of
P. Waldenstrom's writings, viz.,
"Jesu blod," "Forsoningens bety-
delse" and "Herren ar from." It
should be added that Mrs. Prin-
cell, who is a woman of literary
talent, has proved an efficient help-
meet to her husband in his re-
ligious and educational work as
well as his literary pursuits.

Rev. Princell is a forceful public
speaker and is generally accorded
a place among the foremost Swed-
ish-American pulpit orators and
Bible exponents.