Not to be confused with 5

THE name Gregory is a good Christian one as it means ‘Watcher’. It has been used by some 16 popes and so there is potential for confusion. Gregory the Great (540-604) one of the ‘great doctors of the Roman Catholic church’ was first. He became Pope in 590. The first monastic Pope he is remembered best in England as the man who sent Augustine of Canterbury here. In 1073 another monk, a Benedictine, called Hildebrand (c 1073-1085), became Gregory VII. He humiliated Henry IV of Germany but the worm turned and drove him from Rome. Other Gregories include Ugolino (c 1145-1241), Gregory IX (installed 1227), who assisted Assisi in establishing the Franciscans and enabled the Dominicans to set up the Inquisition in 1233. Pierre Roger de Beaufort (c1329-1378) became Gregory XI in 1370, ruling first in Avignon then Rome from 1377. From there he issued five bulls ordering the arrest of proto-reformer John Wycliffe. Angelo Corrario (c 1326-1417) was Pope Gregory XII 1406-1415 alongside two ‘anti-popes’ during a rather confused period of papal history. Ugo Buoncampagni (1502-1585), Gregory XIII from 1572, gave his name to the current Gregorian Calendar. He is remembered too as the man who ordered a Te Deum to celebrae the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Protestants. 
There is also Gregory Thaumaturgus ie ‘Wonderworker’ (c 213-c 270) who was converted, with brother Athenodorus, through Origen. Bishop of Neo-Caesarea he was at the Synod of Antioch in 265. Gregory of Nazianzus (c 330-c 390) and Gregory of Nyssa (c 330-c 394) with Basil, Nyssa’s equally nice (!) older brother, are known as the ‘Three Cappadocians’. Nazianzus was the poet and orator of the three. He wrote against Arianism and preceded Chrysostom at Constantinople. Nyssa was the philosopher scholar and apologist of the three, the only one to marry. He too opposed Arianism and like Nazianzus was at the Council of Constantinople in 318 where, as a ‘pillar of Catholic orthodoxy’, he had much influence. Later again we have Gregory of Tours (c 538-594), famed for his History of the Franks, and Gregory of Utrecht (c 701-776), companion to Boniface and missionary to the Frisians.
Gregory the Illuminator (c 257 – c 331) is remembered as the man who converted the Armenians to Christianity in 301. Gregory Palamas (c 1296 – 1357 or 1359) was a prominent theologian and ecclesiastical figure of the late Byzantine period. Gregory of Rimini (c 1300 – 1358) was a Christian philosopher.
A number of 19th century ministers bore the surname Gordon. Adoniram Judson Gordon (1836-1895) named for (and not to be confused with) the Baptist missionary to Burma, was the successful Boston preacher who wrote ‘My Jesus I love thee’ and founded the eponymous Gordon College. Canadian Charles William Gordon (1860-1937) wrote novels with a high moral tone under the pseudonym ‘Ralph Connor, the sky-pilot’. American Samuel Dickey Gordon (1859-1936), slightly later, is best remembered today for his devotional Quiet Talks series. There was also a Boston liberal George Angier Gordon (1853-1929) but the best known Victorian Gordon is General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885) Chinese Gordon, who died at Khartoum. A serious Bible student and a Christian soldier it is his preferred site for Golgotha that is known as Gordon’s Calvary.
There is an American Hebrew scholar alive today called Cyrus H Gordon. Canadian Bruce L Gordon is a proponent of intelligent design while the American Yale historian Bruce Gordon has written on Calvin.
Guthrie is another popular surname. James Guthrie (1613-1661) was a martyred covenanter. William Guthrie (1620-1665) was another covenanter, best remembered for his The Christian’s Great Interest. Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873) was a doyen of the early Free Church. In more recent years Donald Guthrie (1916-1992) has made his name as author of a well respected and scholarly Introduction to the New Testament. 
Two distinguished British pioneer missionaries share the name Grenfell. Cornish Baptist George Grenfell (1849-1906) worked initially with Alfred Saker in the Cameroons and later explored the Congo using river steamers brought in parts from England. Sir Wilfred T Grenfell (1866-1940), from Cheshire, was a medical missionary, firstly among deep sea fishermen and then in Labrador and Newfoundland. He was knighted in 1927. 
It is perhaps also worth mentioning that besides the justly famous Puritan Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680), one of the few Independents at the Westminster Assembly, there was also a John Goodwin, an Arminian. There is unlikely to be any confusion but it is worth mentioning that John Gill (1697-1771) the High Calvinist Baptist has a near namesake in Juan Gil (died 1556), a Spanish Reformer who died at the hands of the Inquisition condemned as a ‘Lutheran’. Two Baptist pastors called Gifford are John Bunyan’s pastor in Bedford John Gifford and the later Bristol born London minister Andrew Gifford (1700-1784), another fan of open communion, one of few Baptists to befriend Whitefield. His father Emanuel and grandfather Andrew were also Baptist ministers.
Talking of Lutherans, in the 19th century there were two pastors called Harms who did a lot of good by their preaching. Not related, as far as I know, theologian Claus Harms lived 1778-1855, the lesser known Ludwig Harms lived 1809-1866. Two non-rugby playing Hookers that may cause confusion are Anglican theologian Richard Hooker (1553-1600), author of the famed Laws of ecclesiastical polity. Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) left Anglicanism and formed a Congregationalist church in Connecticut. 
Hall is a very popular name borne by many. Most well known in church history have been Joseph Hall (1574-1656) ‘the Chrysostom of England’ and the Baptist Robert Hall (1764-1831) son ofanother Baptist minister Robert Hall (1728–1791). Hill is only one letter different. I remember as a boy my wonderment that the eccentric London preacher Rowland Hill (1744-1833) had also originated the penny post! In fact, it was a slightly later Rowland Hill (1795-1879). Another of the same name was a viscount and a soldier who distinguished himself under Abercrombie and Wellington. Less forgivable is my brief confusion over William Huntington (1745-1813) and The Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791) whose Calvinistic Methodist ‘Connexion’ of churches survives to this day. There was also an episcopalian William Reed Huntington (1838-1909), a New England ecumenist. 
Confusion can sometimes come when we are unaware that an individual has a significant relative. For example, the father of the commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) Philip Henry (1631-1696) was also a distinguished preacher. Neither must be confused with the 20th century theologian Carl F Henry (1913–2003). Charles Hodge (1797-1878), the Princeton theologian, was succeeded by his son Archibald Alexander Hodge (1817-1886) – not to be confused himself with Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), Hodge senior’s colleague. Scots Baptist Robert Haldane (1764-1842) wrote a fine commentary on Romans. Both he and his brother, James Alexander Haldane (1768-1851), were faithful preachers, used of the Lord. Two later Haldane brothers (John and Richard, grand nephews of Robert) distinguished themselves in medicine and politics respectively. Dr John Haldane’s son J B S Haldane was the Marxist geneticist who emigrated to India. 
One final possible confusion here – Herman Hoeksma (1886-1965) and A A Hoekema (1913-1998) both now with the Lord, were Dutch American professors in the field of systematic theology – Hoekema at Calvin Seminary and Hoeksma at Protestant Reformed Seminary.
This article (now slightly modified) appeared first in The Evangelical Library Bulletin