Thomas Smail

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Thomas Allan Smail (6 February 1928– 15 February 2012 [1] ) was a leading Scottish theologian [2] in the charismatic movement in the United Kingdom.


Smail studied under Karl Barth, and in 1953 he was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in the Church of Scotland. From 1968 to 1972, he served in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and then on the Roll of Ministers of the United Reformed Church [3] [4] In 1979, he became a Church of England priest. [5]

Karl Barth Swiss Protestant theologian

Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian who is most well known for his landmark The Epistle to the Romans, involvement in the Confessing Church, authorship of the Barmen Declaration, and especially his thirteen volume Church Dogmatics (1932-1967). Barth's influence expanded well beyond the academic realm to mainstream culture, leading him to be featured on the cover of Time on April 20, 1962 and Pope Pius XII said Barth was “the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas.”

Church of Scotland national church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland, also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national church of Scotland. It is Presbyterian and adheres to the Bible and Westminster Confession; the Church of Scotland celebrates two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as well as five other rites, such as confirmation and matrimony. It is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

United Reformed Church Christian church organisation in the United Kingdom

The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Protestant Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 56,000 members in 1,400 congregations with 608 active ministers, including 13 church related community workers.

Smail ministered at the West Kirk, West Calder, Midlothian, Trinity and Wilson Fullerton churches, Irvine, Ayrshire, Thornlie Church of Scotland, Wishaw, Lanarkshire and Whiteabbbey Presbyterian Church, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.

In 1972, he became secretary of the Fountain Trust, [3] a UK-based organisation which promoted the renewal of the Holy Spirit within the established churches and took over as its Director in 1975 where he and the Fountain Trust team travelled the UK and overseas emphasising the advocacy of the Holy Spirit within the everyday of people's lives.

One of his roles in the realm of ecumenical dialogue was to puncture what had become the lazier theological presuppositions of other people's comfort zones. His description of a vision early one morning of Mary the Mother of God who announced that she had come to help him pay deeper attention to her Son, acted to break down some of the more habitual theological and cultural prejudices. This could be an uncomfortable role for a man who held the post of a Presbyterian minister in a parish in Northern Ireland to hold. [6]

Tom Smail taught theology at St John's College, Nottingham (England) where he lectured in Doctrine. From 1980 to 1985, he was vice-principal at St John's College. [5]

St Johns College, Nottingham

St John's College, Nottingham, founded as the London College of Divinity, is an Anglican and interdenominational theological college situated in Bramcote, Nottingham, England. The college stands in the open evangelical tradition and states that its mission is "to inspire creative Christian learning marked by evangelical conviction, theological excellence and Spirit-filled life, that all who train with us might be equipped for mission in a world of change".

In 1985, he became Team Rector of All Saints, Sanderstead (in the diocese of Southwark) from where he retired from ministry (1994) [5] although still continued both his writing and lecturing career. He spent a term as visiting professor in Fuller Theological Seminary. In his latter years he and his wife Truda were based at St Barnabas College near Lingfield, Surrey, where he continued to write, preach and teach. He died on 15 February 2012 and his funeral on 8 March bore testimony to the efficacy of his life and ministry.

Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary is a multidenominational Christian evangelical seminary in Pasadena, California, with regional campuses in the western United States. The seminary has 2,897 students from 90 countries and 110 denominations.

In 1991, he was made an honorary canon of Southwark Cathedral. [5]

In 1949 he graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA degree, and in 1952 from with University of Edinburgh with a Bachelor of Diviinty. [5]

His major works include:

In The Giving Gift, Smail proposed a revision to the so-called "filioque clause" in the Nicene Creed. Where the Creed states that the Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son", implying the subordination of the Spirit to the Son (Jesus Christ), Smail suggested a two-way relationship between Son and Spirit.

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  1. "Death of Tom Smail". Diocese of Down and Dromore. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  2. Hart, Larry D. (16 February 2010). Truth Aflame. Zondervan. pp. 112–. ISBN   978-0-310-86448-6 . Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  3. 1 2 Source: Yearbook of the United Reformed Church, 1977 ed.
  4. The United Reformed Church came into being in England and Wales in 1972 as a merger of Congregational churches in England and Wales with the Presbyterian Church of England and, as such, is the successor-church to the Presbyterian Church of England. Its full name in 1972 was "the United Reformed Church in England and Wales (Congregational-Presbyterian)".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Source: Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1995/96 ed.
  6. "Andrew Walker: Epistles of Straw: Faith in Fatima". Retrieved 2018-05-13.