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Darby, John Nelson (1800–1882)

  1. J. Kristian Pratt

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0391

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Pratt, J. K. 2011. Darby, John Nelson (1800–1882). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


John Nelson Darby was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren movement and the father of dispensationalism. Born in London in 1800 to a prominent Irish landowner and merchant, Darby graduated from Trinity College in Dublin with a BA in 1819 and entered training for a career in law. Shortly after his admission to the Irish Bar in 1822, he abandoned his law career for life in the Anglican Church. On February 19, 1826, he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England and appointed to a parish in County Wicklow, Ireland. Early in his curacy, while recovering from an injury sustained in a riding accident, Darby reflected upon his reading of New Testament passages about the church. Seeing a discrepancy between the Church of England and the New Testament church, he became dissatisfied with the established church and began to seek other like-minded individuals.


  • founders, of the plymouth brethren movement;
  • ordained as a priest;
  • dispensational premillennialism;
  • the Abrahamic covenant;
  • Darby's dispensational ideas, orthodoxy for evangelicals