Bell, L. Nelson (Lemuel Nelson), 1894-1973

Alternative names
Birth 1894-07-30
Death 1973-08-02

Biographical notes:

Lemuel "Nelson" Bell (1894-1973) was a general surgeon and Presbyterian missionary. He was also the father-in-law of Billy Graham. Evangelist Billy Graham (b. 1918) attended Bob Jones University and recieved an honorary degree from the university in 1948. Bob Jones (1883-1968) is a religious broadcaster and the founding president of Bob Jones University. His birth name is Robert Reynolds Jones Sr. A fundamentalist, evangelical minister, he founded Bob Jones University in 1926 as an alternative to religious colleges which he felt had become secularized. In 1946, he moved the institution to its current location in Greenville, South Carolina. He was an adamant segregationist. His split with Billy Graham is related to Graham's ecumenial and non-fundamentalist approach.

From the description of L. Nelson Bell collection of papers, 1957. (Western North Carolina Library Network). WorldCat record id: 191848911

Surgeon, missionary, evangelist, church statesman; born on July 30, 1894; went to China as medical missionary with the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1916; served as doctor, administrator and lay evangelist at his denomination's hospital in Tsingkiangpu [Pinyin romanization: Qingjianpu] until 1941; unable to return to China, first because of the war with Japan and then because of the Communist takeover, Bell opened a medical practice in Asheville, NC; was extremely involved in the life of his denomination, particularly its mission work, and was opposed to union with other Presbyterian denominations; founded THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL (later the PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL) to express the conservative viewpoint; was a close advisor of his son-in-law, the evangelist Billy Graham; with Graham was the major figure in the founding of the magazine CHRISTIANITY TODAY in 1956 to represent conservative Protestant belief; was also a friend and advisor to the millionaire and philanthropist J. Howard Pew;served as moderator of his denomination, 1972-1973; died in 1973.

From the description of Papers of L. Nelson Bell, 1923-1973. (Wheaton College). WorldCat record id: 26449124


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Ark ID:


  • Belief and doubt
  • Liberalism (Religion)
  • Anti-communist movements
  • Missionaries
  • Religious disputations
  • Presbyterian Church--Missions
  • Journalism, Religious
  • Sino--Japanese War, 1937-1945
  • Children of missionaries
  • Evangelicalism
  • Medical care
  • African Americans--Social conditions
  • Missions, medical
  • Presbyterians
  • Evangelists
  • Missions
  • Ecumenical movement


not available for this record


  • Korea (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • China (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)