Bain, John Alexander (1861–1947), presbyterian minister and theologian, was born at Galway 22 June 1861. He was educated at QCG and at Assembly's College, Belfast, and obtained an MA of the RUI (1882). Ordained 12 August 1884, he served First Raphoe, Co. Donegal, as assistant minister (until 1890) and minister (1890–92), then the presbyterian congregation at Westport, Co. Mayo (1892–1919). Awarded a DD (1916), he was librarian of Assembly's College (1923–38) and edited the Missionary Herald (Belfast) for twenty-two years. His publications included The new reformation: recent evangelical movements in the Roman Catholic church (1906), on religious changes in central Europe, and Sören Kierkegaard: his life and religious teaching (1935). He was one of the first writers in English to recognise Kierkegaard's importance and introduce him to students of theology. Bain's knowledge of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Danish (as well as the Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic he used as a theologian) enabled him to play a leading part in relations between the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and protestant churches on the Continent. Bain was convener of his church's continental mission (1912–26); he visited Spain and preached in Spanish. Semi-retired, he organised a new congregation at Glengormley near Belfast (1935–6). Bain married Jessie Baillie in 1886, and died 21 February 1947 in Belfast, leaving one daughter.
Northern Whig, 22 Feb. 1947; Presbyterian Herald, Mar. 1947, 66–8; Robert Allen, The Presbyterian College, Belfast, 1853–1953 (1954), 293–5, 338 (portr.); A history of congregations in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 1610–1982 (1982), 173, 803; J. M. Barkley, Fasti of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 1871–1890 (1987), 37