F.F. Bruce was one of the most influential evangelical scholars of the second half of the twentieth century.
His importance comes from the fact that in a time when the academic community looked down upon Evangelicals, Bruce demonstrated that worthwhile academic work could be done by a scholar holding evangelical views. At the same time, Bruce persuaded Evangelicals that they should not turn their backs on academic methods of Bible study, even if the results might differ from traditional evangelical views.
“He was by all accounts,” said Dr. David Capes, “the most significant evangelical scholar of his age and continues to influence the church today in quiet, understated ways.”
Known worldwide as the “Dean of Evangelical Scholarship,” F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) was a biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. Trained in classics at the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University, he taught at the universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, and Sheffield, and was for almost twenty years the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester.
F.F. Bruce was charitable, gentle, and respected those with whom he disagreed and those who disagreed with him. He seemed to be genuinely humble, teachable, and diplomatic. J.I. Packer said, “No Christian was ever more free of narrow bigotry, prejudice and eccentricity in the views he held and the way he held them; no man did more to demonstrate how evangelical faith and total academic integrity may walk hand in hand.”
“The issues which, for Bruce, were non-negotiable,” said Bruce’s biographer Tim Grass, “may be summarized as the reliability of the New Testament, the person and work of Christ, the Christian life as one of forgiveness and liberty as befits those who are being led by the Spirit, and the right and duty of every believer to use whatever gifts God has given them.”
F.F. Bruce belonged to a group of independent Christian congregations called the Brethren, a group that gives prominence to Scripture and to the Lord’s Supper and that has influenced the broader evangelical church far out of proportion to its small size. Bruce wrote a paper on “Who are the Brethren” and contributed to an article on “Why I Have Stayed with the Brethren.” In 1979 he founded the Christian Brethren Archive at the University of Manchester.
The purpose of this website, then, is to encourage an understanding of these “non-negotiables,” to encourage a spirit of humility in approaching the Bible, and to encourage academic scholarship among today’s evangelical students and leaders.