Sunday, May 6, 2018

inSPIREd Sunday

April 2018 - Toronto ON

The Jarvis Street Baptist Church is one of the oldest churches in the city, its congregation was founded in 1818, and the present church constructed in 1875.

Early records indicate that by 1827, church meetings were held at the Masonic Hall on Colborne Street. The congregation then bought property on Lombard Street and constructed a small chapel in 1832. It was then known also as the Baptist Church of York. By 1848, the congregation had moved to Bond Street and became known simply as Bond Street Baptist Church with a membership that grew to 400 by the late 1860s.

Beginning with Bond Street and continuing through at Jarvis Street an outreach was begun further west which was established in 1880 as Beverley Street Baptist Church. (See also Toronto Chinese Baptist Church).

The present church was erected on Jarvis Street in 1875, with a large donation to the construction costs from the Canadian Senator and banker, William McMaster.The newly formed Baptist Union of Canada held its first meeting at Jarvis Street in October 1880. In 1882, William McMaster, William Elliot (a member of Jarvis Street and a Toronto pharmacist and businessman), and others established the Standard Publishing Company, which published the Canadian Baptist, transferring that enterprise from private ownership to a denominational enterprise.

Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College trains pastors for the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada, the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada, and other Baptist churches in Canada and elsewhere.

The school was founded in 1927 and is currently located adjacent to Jarvis Street Baptist Church with which the school has had a longstanding relationship.The school was proposed in 1925 by Dr. Thomas Todhunter Shields, editor of The Gospel Witness and pastor of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church who was dismayed by the modernism that had taken hold in contemporary theological institutions. McMaster University's McMaster Divinity College, which provided training for Ontario and Quebec's Baptist ministers, drew Shields' evangelical/fundamentalist ire when it appointed a liberal professor Laurance Henry Marshall (from England) to the faculty of theology. Shields, who was on the university's board of governors, railed against the appointment with such ferocity he was expelled from both the university and the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec. Therefore, Shields formed his own Baptist convention, the Baptist Bible Union, and founded Toronto Baptist Seminary.


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