Tigert, D.D.,L.L.D, John J.


- November 21, 1906
Bishop Tigert died at Tulso, I. T., November 21, 1906, lacking but four days of having completed his fiftieth year. At the time of this writing two months have passed since we sustained the shock of this intelligence, but the Church is still discovering the extent of its loss in the passing of this great intellectual leader, and his friends realize afresh the grief of bereavement.
Bishop Tigert’s education was obtained in the public schools of his native city, Louisville, Ky., Vanderbilt University, the Theological Department of which he entered at its 9pening in 1875, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which he attended, in 1877, during his first pastorate, Bethel, in the city of Louisville, and the Academic Department of Vanderbilt, which he entered in 1881, while maintaining himself and family by teaching in the Theological Department.
His second appointment was Franklin, Ky.. which he served three years. While there he wedded Miss Amelia McTyeire. His appointment from 1881, the year of his ordination as elder by Bishop Keener, until 1885, was that of Assistant Instructor in Vanderbilt University. first in the chair of Church History, afterwards in that of Philosophy. To the last he had a growing love for the University, and at the time of his death was the Secretary of the Board of Trust and a member of the Executive Committee. He held in affection and admiration his instructors and cherished their memory. His edition of Summer’s Systematic Theology in two massive volumes was a pupil’s tribute of affection to the first, and, during his life, the foremost theologian of our Church. He tater published some of the fruits of his professional studies in the “Handbook of Logic,” a standard work; “Theism: A Survey of the Paths That Lead to God; and “The Christianity of Christ and the Apostles.”
He returned to the pastorate in 1900 as a member of the Southwest Missouri Conference, and spent a shortened quadrennium as Pastor of North Avenue Church, Kansas City, Mo. Though a diligent pastor and studious preacher, out of this period of his life came his monumental work, “The Constitutional History of Episcopal Methodism,” evidently destined to remain the authority in its subject.
By the General Conference of 1894 Dr. Tigert was elected Book Editor, and Editor of “The Methodist Review.” He both improved and popularized this old and famous publication. Its pages were enriched by articles from his own pen, chiefly on philosophical and theological subjects, and his versatility was apparent in the Editorial Departments and Book Reviews, which soon became an attractive feature. It was during the twelve years of his occupancy of this position that Dr. Tigert became known to the whole Church. He became widely known, North and South, and was much in demand for pulpit and platform work The extent of this circle of friends and admirers North has been sadly revealed by the numerous articles that his death has called forth.
Dr. Tigert’s election to the Episcopate by a large majority on the first ballot was logical, almost inevitable, and in this the General Conference of 1906 but registered the mind of the Church. He was profoundly moved by the honor and responsibility conferred upon him, and during he following six months was as active in filling his bishopric as he had been industrious in the cloister of the scholar or the works of pastoral life. He had held one Conference, the Illinois, and had prepared with characteristic care for the great Oklahoma Conference at the seat of which he died. A tabulated and indexed digest bf the correspondence, including hundreds of letters, relating to the Conference, prepared by his own hand, Is an example of his conscientious care in administration.
His career was arrested at Its noon. Death stopped him in a strenuous life and denied the prospects that seemed certain. Divine wisdom and love cannot be excluded from even the little accident that caused his death. Not a sparrow falls without our Father’s knowledge; of how much greater value are his children! We know that our brother’s life shall be finished in some way.
I have never heard him speak of the time or circumstances of his conversion. It is probable that by his class-leader father, whom he, as a boy, regularly accompanied to Sunday afternoon class, he was early led to Christ. After a sermon at Birmingham last May on Christ’s Gift of Peace, he said, with affectionate familiarity to Rev. R. W. Tucker: “Tucker, Tigert knows the way of life.”
His end, though unexpected, was peace. In the last letter he dictated to his wife occur these words: “Whichever turn the road takes, I accept it as my Father’s will.”
Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1906, pages 49-50, by Fitzgerald Sale Parker

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