Thomas Todhunter Shields

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Thomas Todhunter Shields
T T Shields.JPG
Born(1873-11-01)November 1, 1873
DiedApril 4, 1955(1955-04-04) (aged 81)
School Baptist, Calvinism, amillennialism

Thomas Todhunter Shields (November 1, 1873 in Bristol, Gloucester, England April 4, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) was a leader of the fundamentalist religious movement in Canada. A self-educated immigrant from England, Shields was the longtime pastor of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto. The Baptist denomination in Canada bore the brunt of that controversy and was centered at Jarvis St. Shields stood 6'6 in height.

Bristol Place in England

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.

Gloucester City and Non-metropolitan district in England

Gloucester is a city and district in Gloucestershire, in the South West of England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.



Thomas Todhunter Shields was the son of Thomas Todhunter Shields, Sr., an Anglican minister and Maria Davis (m. 1865 in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales).

Swansea City & County in Wales

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales. Swansea lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan and the ancient Welsh commote of Gŵyr on the southwest coast. The county area includes Swansea Bay and the Gower Peninsula. Swansea is the second largest city in Wales and the twenty-fifth largest city in the United Kingdom. According to its local council, the City and County of Swansea had a population of 241,300 in 2014. The last official census stated that the city, metropolitan and urban areas combined concluded to be a total of 462,000 in 2011; the second most populous local authority area in Wales after Cardiff.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

In 1881 his family was living in Blaenavon, near Pontypool, Wales his father being then a Primitive Methodist minister. The family emigrated to Canada around the year 1885 his father continuing to serve in the ministry in the Baptist denomination.

Blaenavon town and community in Torfaen County Borough in south east Wales

Blaenavon is a town and community in south eastern Wales, lying at the source of the Afon Lwyd north of Pontypool, within the boundaries of the historic county of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent. The town lies high on a hillside and has a population of 6,055. Blaenavon literally means "front of the river" or loosely "river's source" in the Welsh language. Parts of the town and surrounding country form the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.

Pontypool town in south east Wales

Pontypool is a town that is home to approximately 36,000 people in the county borough of Torfaen, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire in South Wales.

Thomas Todhunter Shields married Elizabeth A. Kitchen on December 6, 1899 in Delhi, Norfolk, Ontario (already then a minister).

Delhi, Ontario Community of Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada

Delhi refers to both a former township and unincorporated community located off of the junction of Ontario Highways 59 and 3. Delhi is known as the "Heart of Tobacco Country." Prior to 1880, this community was known for its lumber industry. One of the Communities in Norfolk County, Ontario, Delhi had a population of 4,240 at the time of the 2016 Census.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.


Young Tod, as his father affectionately called him, never received a formal education beyond high school. Early in his ministry Shields proudly related that, as his pastor and theological professor, his father taught him "nearly all I have learned."


T. T. Shields' delivered his first sermon in 1894 in Tiverton, Ontario and obtained his first pastorate in Florence, (Lambton) Ontario beginning in 1894. He had pastorates also in Dutton (Elgin) 1895, Delhi (Norfolk) 1897, and Hamilton (Wentworth Street Baptist Church) beginning in November, 1900. He moved to Adelaide Street Baptist Church in London in 1905, where he remained until 1910. Beginning in 1910 until his death in 1955 he served at Jarvis Street Baptist Church.

Tiverton, Ontario Community in Ontario, Canada

Tiverton is a community in the Municipality of Kincardine, Ontario, Canada in Bruce County. It is near the shore of Lake Huron on Highway 21 between Port Elgin and Kincardine.

Dutton, Ontario Unincorporated community in Ontario, Canada

Dutton is a community in the Township of Dutton/Dunwich, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada. Dutton is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of St. Thomas.

Hamilton, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. An industrialized city in the Golden Horseshoe at the west end of Lake Ontario, Hamilton has a population of 536,917, and a metropolitan population of 747,545. The city is located about 60 km southwest of Toronto, with which the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is formed.


In a sense, Shields took up the mantle of orthodoxy that had been laid down by Elmore Harris in the Baptist denomination of the time. In a bit of irony, Shields (not knowing the full picture) was used by the Convention in 1910 to put forth a motion to quell the inquiry surrounding the professorship of Isaac George Matthews at McMaster University that Elmore Harris had begun. In 1917 T.T. Shields began a paper called The Searchlight which in 1927 was called “The Fundamentalist”. In the same year Shields was also granted an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Temple University. In May 1918 Shields was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at McMaster. In 1919, when an anonymous editorial in the Canadian Baptist attacked the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, Shields presented a strong condemnatory resolution to the annual convention. Shields's strong motion passed. In 1920 T. T. Shields was elected to the Board of Governors at McMaster University. Shields and others were highly concerned that McMaster had conferred an honorary doctorate upon William H. P. Faunce (president of Brown University). Shortly after, Shields took action against McMaster University in Toronto for harboring the liberal theology professor Laurance Henry Marshall (from England) beginning in 1925 (served from 1925-1930) a self-confessed “liberal evangelical” who was appointed Professor of Practical Theology at McMaster. In the spring of 1926 Shields established Toronto Baptist Seminary and was censured by the Baptists convention of Ontario and Québec in 1926, and was expelled in 1927. He took with him 70 churches (representing about one seventh of the Convention) and one college, and formed the Union of Regular Baptist Churches of Ontario and Quebec. It became affiliated with the Baptist Bible Union , based in the United States. His newspaper, The Gospel Witness, begun in 1922, reached 30,000 subscribers in 16 countries, giving him an international reputation. He was one of the founders of the International Council of Christian Churches. Shields championed British imperialism against liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Shields was also the longtime editor of the Gospel Witness. In 1930 he began evening church service broadcasts over the radio. At one point a radio station was purchased and given the call letters CJBC (Jarvis Street Baptist Church.) In difficult financial times this had to be sold, but the station still broadcasts as a CBC station.

Elmore Harris CAnandian theologian

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McMaster University public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

McMaster University is a public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The main McMaster campus is on 121 hectares of land near the residential neighbourhoods of Ainslie Wood and Westdale, adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It operates six academic faculties: the DeGroote School of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Social Science, and Science. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.

Temple University public research university in Philadelphia, United States

Temple University is a state-related research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1884 by Baptist Minister Russell Conwell. In 1882, Conwell came to Pennsylvania to lead the Grace Baptist Church while he began tutoring working class citizens late at night to accommodate their work schedules. These students, later dubbed "night owls", were taught in the basement of Conwell's Baptist Temple, hence the origin of the university's name and mascot. By 1907, the institution revised its institutional status and was incorporated as a university.

Pastor Shields introduced many innovations. Of particular note was his move of the Sunday school to Sunday morning, something which had not yet been tried in Canada. Traditionally the Sunday School had been held in the afternoon. His efforts were eminently successful and hereafter a huge Sunday morning crowd of children and adults gathered for Biblical instruction.


Shields was a Calvinist and was unusual among fundamentalists in being an amillennialist. He despised dispensational premillennialism.

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