Voice of Nonconformity

Voice of Nonconformity
Robert Strivens
Robert Strivens Robert is the pastor of Bradford on Avon Baptist Church.
01 March, 2012 1 min read
Voice of Nonconformity

Keith A. Ives
Lutterworth Press
324, £23.00
ISBN: 978-0-7188-9222-7
Star Rating: 3

William Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923) founded the British Weekly in 1886, a periodical which described itself as ‘a journal of Christian and social progress’, and remained its editor until his death. The British Weekly was intended to be religious publishing’s answer to the popular secular journalism of the day. Its content would inform and comment on religious issues of contemporary import and was to uphold a high literary standard. The journal soon achieved a position of influence. Higher critical ideas which questioned traditional views of the authorship of Bible books and the historical accuracy of their contents was prevalent. Through the British Weekly, Nicoll sought to accommodate the new ideas within his understanding of the Christian faith, an approach which he believed was necessary if Christianity were to continue to flourish amongst the rising generation.

Nicoll was a Scot, son of a minister who had identified with the Free Church from the Disruption in 1843. William inherited his father’s love of books and of theology. He trained for the Free Church ministry, but a serious illness left him unable to withstand the physical rigours of the pastorate. He then joined the publishers Hodder & Stoughton and moved south to London in 1885, remaining with the firm for the rest of his life.

Keith Ives depicts Nicoll’s life in a clear and interesting manner. He brings out clearly the tensions which Nicoll’s openness to higher critical views created with historic evangelical faith. Brief sketches of contemporary preachers illustrate Nicoll’s preference for the more ‘liberal evangelical’ approach of men such as Marcus Dods and John Clifford, rather than the full-blooded calvinism of men like Spurgeon. The book supplies an illuminating account of a key figure in the story of the influence of higher critical scholarship in Britain at the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth centuries.

Robert Strivens


London Theological Seminary

Robert Strivens
Robert is the pastor of Bradford on Avon Baptist Church.
Articles View All

Join the discussion

Read community guidelines
New: the ET podcast!