Rev. Paul Tyner

Archivist Note: The following is a Unity Editor’s comment/foreword in an February 1904 article entitled Soul and Body.  The source hyperlink will direct a user to this editorial comment and the full Body and Soul article.  Rev. Paul Tyner was the pastor of the Universalist Church of Atlanta in 1905.

From a Onward article of August 1905 (page 248) it was noted in the President’s annual address that Rev. Tyner was called to the pulpit of the Atlanta Universalist church to fill “the unexpired term, ending July 1st (1905).”  The article continued that he “was not a candidate for re-election, but has consented to supply the pulpit until his successor is settled.”

Paul Tyner, minister of the First Universalist Church in Mount Vernon, New York, was born in Ireland about forty-four years ago, and was brought to this country at the age of four. It was as a New Thought lecturer that he was first introduced to the First Universalist congregation two years ago, and subsequently formed the friendships in that church-which resulted in his call to the pulpit when it became vacant in November of last year.

To be sure, there were not lacking in the congregation those who looked askance at the possibilities of a mental healer in the pulpit. Yet those who knew the new minister best felt assured that he was animated by deep convictions and high spiritual aspirations, and so capable of taking the largest views of his opportunity and privileges as a preacher of liberal Christianity. Touching a wide variety of topics, and handling many problems in a way that evinced catholic sympathies, deep thought and thorough study, Mr. Tyner recently found it necessary to definitely and directly bring up the healing philosophy in his preaching. It seemed as if, having duly considered other subjects of greater or lesser importance, he at last found himself facing the question of spiritual healing in its relation to preaching the gospel. Delicacy about intruding personal views while they involved personal and professional interests outside his church work, had probably influenced the preacher to reticence in this connection. Repugnance to the shadow of a suggestion of charlatanism had up to this time impelled him to maintain a strict separation between what he considered his religious and his secular work.

Contact with sickness and suffering among his Mount Vernon parishioners occasioned the changed attitude revealed in Mr. Tyner’s sermon, “Soul and Body.” His sympathies were touched, and he resented the barrier interposed by his secular profession to a more complete ministration. He thereupon resolved to abandon mental healing as a separate work, and to give himself wholly henceforth to the work of the ministry, placing himself and whatever power he possessed for the healing of the sick in mind and body, at the service of those who needed him, without money and without price. This sermon ranges him with the increasing vanguard of liberal preachers who demand recognition for spiritual healing in the church.

From a sketch published in the Boston Transcript at the time Mr. Tyner succeeded the late Professor John Clark Ridpalh in the editorship of ‘The Arena, we learn that before going West, eight years ago, Mr. Tyner attained some reputation as a newspaper writer in New York City. After a training in economics under Professor Richard T. Ely at the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Tyner engaged in important sociological investigations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. In Denver he devoted himself, with some success, to the mission of municipal reform, and edited The Temple, a little magazine of optimism. Mr. Tyner is the author of several successful books, including ” The Living Christ,” a plea for practical Christianity; “Through the Invisible,” a novel; and three volumes of essays.

His name is familiar to magazine readers as a frequent contributor of articles on sociological topics. His reception into the Uuiversalist ministry a year ago was preceded by seven years of platform work as a lecturer on the New Thought and other reforms. At the recent New York State Convention in Canton he delivered an address on “Definite Objective and Massed Forces in Preaching,” and it was well received.  Ed.

Source: Unity found in Google Books February 1904 Vol. XX No. 2 Pages: 67 – 70