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Monday, April 11, 2005

Thomas Todhunter Shields, "the Battling Baptist", fifty years on...

*Dear reader, please accept my welcome and short introduction to my blog if you're a first-time visitor and feel like you might like to see what else I have here.

T. T. Shields (1873-1955)

Asst. Pastor Edwin Fry and Loy at the book sale at the concourse;
and dessert for the evening

Last Saturday, 9 April 2005, Jarvis Street Baptist Church honoured the 50th death anniversary of its longest serving (44 years) and most famous pastor, Dr. T. T. Shields with a symposium commemorating his fiery yet compassionate personality, and his deep love for Christ, the Gospel, and the Fundamentals of the faith. It was an event Loy and I couldn't miss. Like Loy said, it would be like being in Philadelphia, Penn. and not attending a symposium on John Gresham Machen; or being in London and not visiting Spurgeon's London Metropolitan Tabernacle.

For another quick introduction to Shields, click here. The last I checked, the links to the sermon and to The Gospel Witness (the periodical Shields founded in 1922 and in which he was its main contributor, often dictating to his secretary for hours on end) work, but not, unfortunately, the bonus links which would have been aptly named indeed if they did work!

For a much fuller, illuminating, and edifying account of the man, read this essay by Douglas Adams, the son of one of Shields' seminary (Toronto Baptist) professors who himself taught for a time at TBS and is currently pursuing a PhD in Shields in the University of Western Ontario. The better one knows another, the more blemishes one tends to discover. Shields with us is no exception. The term "the Battling Baptist" was in fact coined by an antagonistic critic to refer to Shields' often combative stance on many issues. Shields' life, however, is surely one which God used greatly for His glory, the salvation of many souls, and for the contending of the faith once delivered (Jude 3). It is also an encouraging reminder that God can be pleased to use us His imperfect vessels.

The night ended with a few generations of Jarvis Street church members, friends and family (biological and spiritual), chorusing "The Sands of Time are Sinking". Truly,
The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land!


Anonymous Ian Clary said...

It was a great day wasn't it? I really enjoyed the lectures etc. I'm glad that you guys were there.

God bless

9:57 AM  

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