Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
R Tudur Jones
R. Tudur Jones (1921-1998) was a Welsh Nationalist and a Protestant Christian. He was the most important Christian scholar in Wales during the 20th century and is hailed as the giant of Protestantism in Wales during a century that saw Wales, as a whole, turn against its traditional reformed protestant theology.
He was born at Tyddyn Gwyn, Llanystumdwy, North Wales on 28 June 1921 but soon the family moved to Rhyl. Christian faith was the foundation of family life as his parents experienced the spiritual zeal of the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival. The family were members of the local Welsh Congregational Church and while other children recited verses on the Sunday morning, as it is a tradition in Nonconformist Chapels , Tudur Jones would recite a whole chapter!
Despite him being raised as a Christian he realised that didn’t make him a Christian. It is said that the turning point in his life was at an evangelistic crusade at Rhyl Pavilion. That encounter he had at the crusade with God set a young man off on his own crusade that would see him dedicate his life in various ways to glorifying God.
His interest in Church History first started when he was a pupil at Rhyl Grammar School. There his history teacher, S. M. Houghton, taught him about the Puritans and he read Old-Testament Greek with the headmaster. After Grammar School he won a Scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford. His father, however, insisted that he attended an institution of the University of Wales. He graduated in 1942 from the University of Wales, Bangor with a degree in Philosophy. After graduating he went on to follow a post-graduate degree in Theology in Bangor. Six years on, with a BA and a BD under his belt, he left Bangor for Oxford where he researched for his DPhil.
Returning from Oxford in 1948, now married, he was ordained as minister of Seion (Zion) Welsh Congregationalist Chapel, Aberystwyth. He was not to stay there long. After only two years he left Seion to pursue an academic career. In 1950 he was appointed as tutor in ‘Church History’ at Bala-Bangor (Theological Seminary, Bangor, North Wales). By 1965 he rose to be the principal of Bala-Bangor. That post he held until the Welsh Congregationalists merged their two Colleges, Bala-Bangor and the Memorial College, Aberystwyth in 1988. After his semi-retirement in 1988 he accepted a post as a honorary lecturer in the Theology Department of the University of Wales Bangor, a post he held until 1997.
Most of his publications were of historical nature, nevertheless his theology and his opinion on false doctrine would show its face regularly in his work. He was a firm Calvinist and perhaps one would be tempted to class him as Evangelical (see also his fellow Welsh Christian Scholars Bobi Jones and R Geraint Gruffydd), but he distanced himself from the pietistic evangelicalism that rose from the ashes of the 1904-1905 Revival.
Tudur Jones was a Welsh nationalist. He was Vice-President of Plaid Cymru for a period and stood elections in the party’s name in Anglesey during the 1959 and 1964 elections. Nationalism is seen as a ‘dirty’ word, with nationalism being stereotyped with Germany during the Third Reich or perhaps in modern day the ‘ethnic-cleansing’ in the Balkans. Tudur Jones’s nationalism was of a very different kind, it was based on a sense of divine vocation. His nationalistic arguments are best put forward in his book ‘The Desire of Nations’. Tudur Jones’s nationalism as he puts it in his book ‘asks nothing for itself that it does not wish for others’.
He is listed to have published over 341 books and articles mainly on the history of the Church. Among his main publications on Church history are "Hanes Annibynwyr Cymru" (History of the Welsh Congregationalists) and "Ffydd ac Argyfwng Cenedl – Cristnogaeth a Diwylliant yng Nghymru 1890-1914" (Faith and the crisis of the Nation – Christianity and Culture in Wales 1890-1914). He also published some work giving political discussion such as his book on nationalism "The Desire of Nations".
His theology was firmly that of reformed Protestantism; he opposed liberal theology and feared humanism's effect on the people of Wales. He stood firm as a solid Christian voice in a Wales that, by and large, was moving in a more secular direction. He not only contributed to Wales at a spiritual/theological level but he got involved in the nationalist struggle through his leadership role in Plaid Cymru and his support of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg(the Welsh Language Society).
- Davies, Gwyn : 'Light in the Land - Christianity in Wales 200-2000' : 2002
- Pope, Robert : ‘A Giant of Welsh Protestantism – R. Tudur Jones 1921-1998’ : 2003
Other Welsh Christian Figures
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