Tom Nefyn Williams: A Warning from History 3. The School of the Prophets
Porth Bible School was the brain-child of R. B. Jones (pictured), a fundamentalist Baptist minister who had been awakened in the 1904-5 Welsh Revival. Like Tom Nefyn, R. B. Jones had a burden for the evangelisation of Wales. Because of the impact of the Higher Criticism in the colleges and denominational seminaries, and the older influence of Hegelianism, R. B. Jones had founded his Bible School in 1919, to train missionaries and evangelists without introducing the fatal leaven of modernism.
The school was fairly small, students paying £1.1s.0d. a term. The curriculum was a practical one, aimed at preparing workers for service outside of the ordained ministry. Particular emphasis was placed on preparing educators, in line with the mission ethos of the school.
R. B. Jones was heavily infuenced by American fundamentalism, inviting J. Gresham Machen to address his Church at Porth. A dispensationalist and premillenialist, Jones could almost have been transplanted from the United States. In his stand against error, whatever his theological distictives, Jones stands as one of the forerunners of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.
However, Tom Nefyn felt called to the Ministry of his own demonination, the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion, at this time becoming more usually known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales. The denominational leaders had left the Calvinism of their confession in the late nineteenth century to such an extent that, when questioned by Lord Hugh Cecil of the Disestablishment Commission, John Owen Thomas, one of these leaders, proved unable to name the five points of Calvinism, despite calling himself a Calvinist. When the points were explained by Cecil, Thomas had to admit he was not in agreement with a single one of them.
It was to the theological colleges of this denomination, first Aberystwyth, then the senior college of the Calvinistic Methodists at Bala, that the young fundamentalist evangelist now went.
Labels: Tom Nefyn Williams