Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tom Nefyn Williams: A Warning from History 2: 'Preach Him to All.'

This will not be a biography of Tom Nefyn, but a description of his role in Welsh theology. However, we shall begin with a brief introduction of the man. He was born in 1895 on the Lleyn peninsular (depicted) of Caernarfonshire, North Wales, the most Welsh part of the most Welsh county in Wales. The turning point of his life came about twenty years later, however.

Tom Nefyn, like many young men of his generation, would look back on the Great War of 1914-18. He served on the Western Front and the Dardanelles (Galipolli), and it was in this period that he professed evangelical conversion. The returning soldier decided to enrol for another tour of duty, this time as a soldier in the army of King Jesus. Tom Nefyn became filled with a burning desire to preach the Gospel. Soon, his voice, poetic and eloquent, could be heard preaching in the open air at country fairs.

Oh, what a delight it must have been in those early days, to 'Preach Him to all'! To be in the front line of the battle to revive the Church, badly hit by the Great War, which had not only emptied Sunday Schools, but split churches over the commitment (or otherwise) to the War effort. If Tom Nefyn was to move from an open-air ministry to pastoring a church, however, he would have to undergo theological training.

As a first step, Tom Nefyn enrolled at the Bible School, Porth, a small fundamentalist college in the Rhondda, the heart of the South Wales Coalfield.



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