Meet an Alumnus
May 26, 2011
Rev. Geoffrey Thomas (MDiv '64)
Rev. Thomas, who will be speaking at the 82nd commencement and will receive an Honorary Doctorate, recently answered a few questions about his time at Westminster, and about his faith in Christ.
Please tell us your testimony – how did the Lord bring you to salvation?
My grandmother’s brother was converted in the 1904 revival in Wales, and he worked tirelessly to bring the gospel to people. He loved my mother and her sister and they loved him and attended the children’s meetings he began. Some time during the First World War, these girls gave their hearts to the Lord. So I was raised in a home where my mother accompanied all her household chores with quiet hymn-singing. I went with her to church, and in 1954 I came under conviction of my need of the Saviour, and one Sunday night in March '54, as the Word of God was preached, I was given faith to believe that Jesus had died for my sins.
Please share some highlights of what God did at certain stages, throughout your career, through chosen people or circumstances to grow you in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At a boys camp as a 17 year old I met boys of my own age who spoke humbly about their knowledge of the Saviour. I was enormously impressed.
The camp officers spoke with a fine respect of the man they called ‘the Doctor’ and I longed to hear him for myself and discover what had created this high admiration. In September 1958 I heard Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones for the first time. His ministry exceeded my hopes.
In my first year at college at a week-end conference I was taught the imputed righteousness of Christ and that thrilled me.
In my final year of university, I read John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied. The chapter on sanctification, definitive and progressive, was another huge spotlight on Scripture. “I am going to be taught by this man within six months,” I thought.
How did God use Westminster to prepare you to serve Him as you have?
I had taken Biblical Studies at University taught by a wholly liberal faculty. I knew that there were answers to the perplexities they spelled out, and that Dr. Stonehouse and Dr. E.J. Young would be able to help: I had read their books. The scholarly, academic, as well as the exegetical foundations laid down for me at Westminster were enormously reassuring, stabilizing and motivating.
In what ways have you continued to benefit from what was provided via your Westminster education?
John Murray’s notes are the only lecture notes that I still turn to. Dr Van Til was the figure whose courage and faithfulness inspired me and has made me a steady presuppositionalist in all my debates and testimony ever since.
What is a favorite memory from your days at Westminster?
John Frame and I began together in ’61 and I remember him conducting us from the piano in singing two choral pieces from the Messiah. Professor Murray could be easily persuaded to tell us a joke at the Dining Club. I once had supper at Professor Woolley’s with O.T. Allis, his wife and two daughters, and asked him what it was like to be taught by B.B. Warfield and then to be a fellow colleague with him. What sparkling brown eyes Professor Skilton had as he taught us Greek! What a saintly man he was. How Arthur Kushke encouraged me to be an experiential Calvinist. How I wish I had asked John Murray questions about his father and family, about his searching the battlefield in the First World War as he looked for his brother who had been shot in action, and whose body was not found.
What would you say to a prospective student about Westminster?
Fight the weariness of study and work as hard as you can. You are getting tools and being shown how to use them. Stir up within your self such graces as vitality, rationality, intellectual ability, godly moods and spirituality. Get as many inspirational role models as you can, and cry to God that you will discover your own voice and that it will speak the truth passionately, lovingly and godly.