- Gaussen, Louis
- (1790-1863)champion of biblical inerrancyFrançois Samuel Robert Louis Gaussen, a Swiss minister in the conservative Evangelistic Society, is considered the fountainhead of the contemporary belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.He was born in Geneva on August 25, 1790. He attended college and seminary there and became pastor of a Swiss Reformed congregation in nearby Satigny in 1816. While there, he became influenced by members of the Free Churches founded by the Haldane brothers.in 1819, Gaussen published a commentary on the Second Helvetic Confession, strongly advocating its use by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches. He thought the federation was drifting from his doctrinal moorings. in 1830, when he attacked its catechism as being weak on essentials such as the divinity of Christ, original sin, and grace, he was censured, and the next year he helped found the Evangelical Society (Sociéte Evangélique), which set up a new conservative theological college. He pastored aFree Church congregation for several years, and in 1834 became a professor at the new college, where he remained until his retirement in 1857.He published his most memorable work in 1840, Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Originally published in France, it was translated into English in 1841. This was the spark that ignited the theologians at Princeton University, who were also perceiving a similar doctrinal drift in American Presbyterianism. They used Gaussen as a foundation for their more detailed approach to the inspiration and authority of the Bible in what is known as the Princeton Theology.Gaussen died in Geneva on June 18, 1863.Further reading:■ Louis Gaussen, Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, 1841 (rpt., Chicago: The Bible institute Colportage, n.d.).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.