W. Graham Scroggie: Pastor and Author

 

W. Graham Scroggie (1877-1958) served faithfully as pastor to many congregations over his lifetime and blessed many more beyond the walls of his churches through itinerant speaking ministry and publishing an impressive body of popular-level commentaries and theological works.

Scroggie, born in Great Malvern, England, to Scottish parents, was one of nine children. As such, his family’s finances led him to work harder than some to achieve his education. At age 19, after working for a few years, he enrolled in Spurgeon’s College in London to train for the Baptist ministry.

Upon his graduation, he was fired from his first two pastorates for his opposition to modernism and worldliness. During this time of unemployment, he set about studying the Bible and writing, laying the foundation for his later books.

Eventually, Scroggie was blessed with churches wanting to hear faithful, biblical preaching. From 1902-33 served pastorates at Leytonstone in London; Trinity Road in Halifax, England, Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland; and Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh. His later itinerant ministry would have made him a good candidate for frequent flier miles in today’s world, taking him all over Britain and also to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and Canada.

Witnesses described his preaching as uniquely powerful. An American listener wrote upon hearing him: “He is dignified, calm, and forceful in his delivery, combining all the powers of the orator with an intense earnestness and a firm conviction that he had come to deliver God’s message to that congregation…. His heart seemed to be fired with a passion for the lost.” A visitor to his church from Scotland once said that he brought to each sermon an “extraordinary blend of the Bible expositor, the cold logician, the man who knows the world he lives in, and the irresistible evangelist.”

From 1938-44 he was minister at famed Spurgeon’s Tabernacle, London. During these turbulent years of World War II, Scroggie’s home suffered damage from German bombs on three occasions, and the historic church building was destroyed during an air raid. Ill health forced his retirement, but he devoted the last 14 years of his life to completing his literary work.

His many books include: Is the Bible the Word of God, Method in Prayer, The Unfolding Drama of Redemption, A Guide to the Gospels (Warren Wiersbe calls this work “indispensable”), and A Guide to the Psalms.

Some of these titles may be found in libraries and secondhand sources: Bible Story and Study; Primeval and Patriarchal; Christ in the Creed, Facts of the Faith; The Fascination of the Old Testament or How to Read It; The Great Unveiling: The Book of Revelation; The Book of the Acts; Know Your Bible (2 volumes); The Lord’s Return; Prophecy and History; Ruling Lines of Progressive Revelation; and A Note to a Friend: Paul to Philemon.

Scroggie passed into heaven on December 28, 1958, resting from a life of faithful labor for the glory of God. “With long life will I satisfy him…” (Ps. 91:16).

Bernard R. DeRemer chronicled the lives of dozens of heroes of the faith in more than a decade of writing for Pulpit Helps Magazine. He continues to serve in this capacity as a volunteer contributor to Disciple. He lives in West Liberty, Ohio.

References: Who Was Who in Church History, by Elgin S. Moyer, excerpts used by permission of Moody Publishers; www.believersweb.org; www.unashamedworkman.org.

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