Smith, Henry L. (1888-1924)

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Henry L. Smith was the leader of the party that established continuing Brethren in Christ missionary work in India in 1914. Included in the party was his wife, Katie Burkholder Smith, and Effie Rohrer. The location was northern Bihar. Born in Harrisburg, PA, Smith married in 1911 and was ordained to the ministry in 1913. He earned his undergraduate degree at Elizabethtown College (1909), his master's degree from Potomac University, Washington, D.C., and was working on his doctorate (theology) at the time of his death. His educational experience also included teaching at what eventually became Messiah College (1910-1913) and at Beulah (later Upland) College (1921). He wrote Bible Doctrine, the first systematic theology by a member of the Brethren in Christ Church.

Smith was the superintendent of the missionary work in India. The avenues of outreach were evangelism (village and bazaar work), orphanages, medical dispensaries, and relief for the poor and famine-stricken. By 1918 he had helped to organize three mission stations: Madhipura, Saharsa, and Supaul. Response to the gospel was limited, given the strong Hinduism of the area. Smith was a man of missionary zeal, gifted in presenting doctrinal truth, and talented in administration. He died of confluent smallpox at the age of 36.


Engle, Anna R. John A. Climenhaga, and Leoda A. Buck­walter. There Is No Difference. Nappanee, 1950.

Obituary in Evangelical Visitor (12 May 1924): 3.

Smith, H. L. Bible Doctrine.(Upland, CA: the author, 1921.

Smith, H. L. Evangelical Visitor (21 July 1924): 13-14. (7 July 1924): 1.

Smith, H. L. The Poinsettia. Upland, CA: Beulah College, 1922.

Smith, H. L. Second Annual Catalog Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home. Grantham, PA, 1911-1912.

Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: The Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978.

Author(s) Martin H Schrag
Date Published 1989

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MLA style

Schrag, Martin H. "Smith, Henry L. (1888-1924)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 23 Oct 2018.,_Henry_L._(1888-1924)&oldid=122592.

APA style

Schrag, Martin H. (1989). Smith, Henry L. (1888-1924). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 October 2018, from,_Henry_L._(1888-1924)&oldid=122592.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 829. All rights reserved.

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