Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

7 October 1936 A.D. Mr. (Rev.) Jonathan Goforth passes to eternity. A Canadian Presbyterian missionary to the Far East.

7 October 1936 A.D.  Mr. (Rev.) Jonathan Goforth passes to eternity.  A Canadian Presbyterian missionary to the Far East.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:

Rev. Goforth’s motto was Zechariah 4.6.

Rev. Goforth was born in 1859, one of eleven children, on a farm just outside London, ONT.  He was struggling through high school, but a Presbyterian minister came to the high school to offer Bible studies.  After the third Bible study, Mr. Goforth was moved to “close with Christ,” that is, commit himself to His Majesty.

Mr. Goforth read and was moved by the testimony of a Church of Scotland minister’s book, The Memoirs of Robert Murray M’Cheyne.”  As a result, he contemplated missionary work.

Mr. Goforth attended the Reformed college of Knox College, University of Toronto (my father’s alma mater).  While in Toronto, he worked in the slums of Toronto. He also met Rosalind Bell-Smith, a wealthy Anglican.  She saw his Bible full of notes from back to end.  They married in 1884.

4 months later, both sailed to China for missions work. 5 of 11 children died in China.

They carried out missions work in China, Korea and Manchuria.

He ultimately went blind.  They returned to Canada in 1934.

He was in much demand as a speaker.  In 18 months, he spoke at 481 meetings.

On 7 October 1936 A.D., he spoke at a parish 40 miles from Toronto.  He and his wife retired that evening.  She awoke thinking her husband was sleeping in.  He had passed to glory.

The funeral service was held at Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto.

These were the days when the Presbyterian Church of Canada actually believed in the Gospel and the Reformed Confession, The Westminster Confession of Faith.  Those days are now over.

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