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:

Friday, January 2, 2015

2 January 1861. Birthday for the Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) W.H. Griffith Thomas

2 January 1861.  Birthday for the Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) W.H. Griffith Thomas

William Henry Griffith Thomas (2 January 1861 – 2 June 1924) was an Anglican cleric and scholar from the English-Welsh border country.

Life and work Thomas was born in Oswestry, Shropshire, England, to a Welsh family. According to the General Register Office marriage record for his parents, his mother (Anne Nightingale Griffith) was the daughter of William Griffith, a surgeon of Oswestry. She married William Thomas on August 30, 1860. William Thomas was a draper and the son of Thomas Thomas, a farmer. By the 1861 census, Mrs. Thomas was widowed and living in Oswestry with her parents and infant son. She married secondly, in 1864, Joseph Charles. In the 1871 census, the family was living in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. By the 1881 census, Griffith Thomas was living in London. Then 20 years old, he worked for his stepfather's younger brother, William Charles, who was a watch dial maker. From 1882-85 he was a student at King's College London where he took an Associateship of King's College, before proceeding to Christ Church, Oxford.

In addition to several pastorates, he taught for several years as Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford (1905–1910)[1] and then at Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada (1910–1919).[2] He was a co-founder with Lewis Sperry Chafer of Dallas Theological Seminary. He authored several books including The Principles of Theology, a systematic theology text based on the 39 Articles of the Anglican Communion. Theologically conservative, Griffith Thomas was an Anglican and an early dispensationalist.

Gaining the reputation of a popular author and speaker in dispensationalism and victorious Christian life, he spent the last five years of his life writing and speaking at conservative gatherings. Partially funded by the Milton Stewart Evangelistic Fund, Thomas traveled with Charles G. Trumbull to Japan and China in the summer of 1920. In 1920 after returning to the United States from China, he made a sweeping accusation of the modernist tendency among China missionaries in the famous speech, "Modernism in China." The speech was delivered to the Presbyterian Social Union in Philadelphia in January 1921 and caused a great deal of debate among the churches and mission boards in North America. Thomas was accused of being directly responsible for the founding of the Bible Union of China. His reply was that "I had nothing to do with the formation of the Bible Union, except in so far as my address seems to have been the immediate occasion for it." There is certainly no evidence that Thomas personally initiated the Bible Union in China, but his speeches in China during summer missionaries retreat had the effect of significantly intensifying the conservatives' negative sentiment toward modernism in the field and prompting them to take public action.


More recently, Griffith Thomas has been drawn into the current science-versus-religion debate by theologian Alister McGrath in his argument with scientist Richard Dawkins over the issue of whether or not religious faith is based on evidence.  The quotation from Griffith-Thomas cited by McGrath ("[Faith] affects the whole of man's nature. It commences with the conviction of the mind based on adequate evidence...")[3] is taken from The Principles of Theology. Griffith-Thomas' view of "evidence" and "proof" in relation to the Bible, can be found in How We Got Our Bible and Why We Believe It Is God's Word.[4]


3.      ^ Alister McGrath - Cambridge CiS-St Edmunds Public Lecture

William Henry Griffith Thomas (1861-1924)

Minister, Scholar, Teacher


  • 2nd Jan 1861 Born at Oswestry, Shropshire, England, of Welsh family. Endured family hardship as his Father died before he was born, left school at 14 because of financial problems.
  • 1878 Converted after the witness of two friends.
  • At the age of 18 went to London to work in his uncle's office, studied hard in his spare time and obtained a good understanding of Greek .
  • 1882 Offered lay-curacy, studied at King's College, London in the mornings and spent the rest of his time in parish work.
  • 1885, Influenced by Henry Wace's lectures at King's, and friendship continued until death.

  • Ordained in 1885, by the Bishop of London.
  • 1888 Senior Curate at St Aldate's, Oxford for 7 years, at the same time studied for a degree at Oxford University.
  • 1896 Vicar of St Paul's, Portman Chapel, London.
  • 1898 Married Alice Monk
  • 1902 Winifred, their only child was born.
  • 1905-1910 Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, committed to conservative evangelical theology.
  • 1910-1919 Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada, appointed to teach Old Testament Literature and Exegesis, later taught Systematic Theology. H K Mowll and Dyson Hague also on the staff.
  • Often spoke at the Keswick Convention.
  • Authored several books including The Principles of Theology (a systematic theology text based on the 39 Articles), The Catholic Faith and The Work of the Ministry. Also a variety of Bible commentaries and books on apologetics and pastoralia.
  • 1919 Left Toronto to exercise a wider ministry (based in Philadelphia), including conference work, Bible lectures, theological courses, writing for newspapers and magazines etc. Memorable visit to China and Japan, leading to the formation of the Bible Union of China following his lectures at Kuling.
  • Co-founder of Dallas Theological Seminary
  • 1924 Died, Philadelphia hospital due to heart trouble.



W. H. Griffith Thomas Biography by M. Guthrie Clark


The Principles of Theology by W H Griffith-Thoams

Published by Church Book Room Press

"A Sacrament of our Redemption" by W H Griffith-Thomas

An Enquiry into the Meaning of the Lord's Supper in the New Testament and the Church of England.

Published by The Church Book Room.


No comments: