Ami Bost (1790-1874)

Ami Bost is considered as one of the best-known advocates of the Revival Movement. He was feared by those who opposed him because of his “bad temper” and his flair for polemics, especially at the beginning of his ministry. A good musician, he wrote hymns, some of which are still sung today.

Biographical data

  • Pastor Ami Bost (1790-1874) © Société Évangélique de Genève

Born in Geneva and educated by the Moravian Brethren whose teachings will have a lifelong impression on him, he read theology in Geneva. He was ordained in 1814, and spent two years in Geneva as a teacher ; he was then appointed suffragant (candidate to the ministry) in the Bernese Jura and finally spent a few months as an itinerant preacher.

In 1819, after breaking up with the National Church of Geneva, he settled in France and worked as a Revival “missionary” for the Continental Church Society of London. He carried out his ministry mostly in Alsace but, as a result of complaints by some pastors whom he had criticised for being hostile to the Revival movement, he was obliged to leave France in 1822. He spent some time as a pastor in Germany, and then returned to Switzerland as a non-conformist pastor. In 1840 he was welcomed back into the National Church of Geneva. On his return to France in 1843, after the Geneva revolution, he was appointed to a parish in the Cher, then in Melun for three years. He was appointed to the prison chaplaincy but, since he often spoke in favour of the prisoners, he found himself in trouble even though he was upheld by Tocqueville, the chairman of the Prisons’ Board. In 1848 he retired from the ministry ; he taught in Neuchâtel, and spends some time in Jersey, in Paris, and in Pau. His last years are spent near La Force (Dordogne) at the home of his son John Bost.

An advocate and one of the principal writers of the Revival Movement

Besides pamphlets of a polemical nature, he wrote a number of books and translations. He leaves his Memoirs, which are a contribution to the history of the religious revival of the Protestant Churches both in Switzerland and in France and to a better understanding of some major theological and clerical issues (Mémoires. 3 volumes, Paris, Meyrueis, 1854-1855).

Bibliography

  • Books
    • CABANEL Patrick et ENCREVE André , Dictionnaire biographique des protestants français, de 1787 à nos jours, Editions de Paris - Max Chaleil, Paris, 2015, Tome 1 : A-C

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