Brethren Archive

James Boyd

Born: 1856
Died: 11th April 1936

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:

Tom said ...
Does anyone have dates for James Boyd, or an Ancestry link? Noel p493 says he was 78 in 1932.
Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 : 21:38
Nick Fleet said ...
Born 1851 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Died 11 Apr 1936 at Brighouse, Yorkshire.
Sunday, Aug 26, 2018 : 00:56
Tom said ...
Sunday, Aug 26, 2018 : 01:26
Deartháir said ...
I would be most grateful if any of the genealogy specialists could supply any further details about Mr. J Boyd.

I am particularly interested in the name of the sister to whom he was married on 14 April, 1876.

My understanding is that he was the son of a mill man and was born at Carrickhue, near to Ballykelly in the North West of Ireland.
Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022 : 04:05
Nick Fleet said ...

His wife was Agnes Magowan, born c.1854, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.  She died in 1926 in Yorkshire.

Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022 : 15:05
Mark said ...

I well remember Dr Neil Shepherd during a fellowship meeting at Oldham saying that he was probably the only one there who remembered Mr Boyd - JB - as he added. 

Please correct me if I am wrong here, but I think, though I have not it to hand at present, that James Boyd denied that the Lord had a human spirit, and was reprimanded for it. One of the citations by "BM" regarding supposed "Ravenism" in the "Glanton" brethren on page 15, "That the Son was the Spirit of His own body," is probably his. 

However, though a most serious error, I understand he withdrew it. I shall add a further comment on the page regarding BM and "Ravenism" as it is called. 

(Following Tom's reply, I have commented below, indicating that the withdrawal by JB of his doctrine was less than adequate.) 

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022 : 16:38
Tom said ...

Hi Mark, There are some items on the website about JB's teachings which aren't linked here:

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022 : 16:53
Mark said ...

I have read through the tract by Mr Boyd having the title "The Son, A Letter."  He says on page 8, "To deny a human spirit to Christ may be going to [sic] far, hence I withdraw the statement." However, the next sentence reads, "At the same time I think it is going to [sic] far on the other hand to affirm it, for this cannot be found in God's Word any more than its denial." 

Also reading further on, there is still some hesitation about other aspects of the Lord's human nature, indeed on manhood generally, and what it is that constitutes a man. It would appear therefore that Mr Boyd did not really retract his erroneous doctrine. (Unless someone has the evidence that he did.) 

I have not come across this in the ministry of Mr Raven, and it seems to have been solely in the thinking of James Boyd. (Again, unless somebody can give proof from the books containing his ministry.) 

Two points: (1) The "brethren" were by the late 1920s very seriously divided. I once heard someone in the "open" meeting call the "exclusive" brethren "the church of the splitted splits." Perhaps not without reason. Someone has even drawn up a "Chart of Shame." 

Ezra 9, particularly verses 3 and 6, seem appropriate in the circumstance, and I don't read of Ezra taking the attitude that it was everybody else, not him. 

(2) And related to the first point, Mr Boyd wrote the tract in 1927. The Lord took him in 1936. A long time it might be thought to bear with him, but as said in one of the other tracts, including the one by "BM" on another page, the "Glanton" leaders were not wanting to go through yet another division, though there were the "Glanton seceders" over another matter, or "Little Glanton" as sometimes called. 

Otherwise, no such error as his has appeared among "Glanton" as far as I am aware, and "Glanton" have to my knowledge been sound on the Person of Christ. 

Should Mr Boyd have been withdrawn from or put away? Well, we cannot turn back the clock. 

Of course, the "Glanton" brethren could have divided in 1927, then gone through a series of reunion exercises after 1936, eventually regrouping some years or decades later. 

We are broken to pieces, brethren, having done in 200 years that which took 2000 for the church generally.  The nearest "available mount for communion for any consistent Christian" for many is a hundred, or in many instances, two or three hundred miles away. And that is just in the UK. Ezra 8 verse 21 comes to mind. 

(I have also commented today on the page regarding "The History of Ravenism" by BM.) 

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022 : 18:48
Gershom said ...

A brother who knew Mr James Boyd well wrote,

“Mr Boyd had never taught this doctrine in England or Scotland; it was introduced in combating error and was withdrawn.”

When visiting a meeting in which he had previously ministered, he was questioned by the brothers.

The brother mentioned above wrote,
“Mr Boyd told us that he did not hold it as dogma or in his soul.
He told me that he had the Lord’s mind in the first part of the tractate, but not in the second. Mr Boyd had never ministered or written of this before — nor has he since.”

The brother also wrote,
“Mr Boyd was certainly not a supporter of F.E.R.”

There is a paper, Must I Separate?, by P. P. Wahlstad, N.J., dated Nov. 5, 1928, which gives a balanced view of the ‘Boyd matter’.

HEAR CHRIST that formed of HIM thou mayest be.
THINK CHRIST for as a man thinks so is he.
LIVE CHRIST that all men HIM in thee may see.
SPEAK CHRIST that all may hear of HIM through thee.

Thursday, Aug 11, 2022 : 04:35
Mark said ...

Thank you for this information.

I commented on this page about Mr Boyd when I had read the paper by "BM" on "Ravenism" earlier this week. Mr "BM" wrote 'The " Glanton " brethren—with all the respect that is due to them—have in the main acted similarly to " Bethesda," i.e. they have treated the evil of F.E.R.'s teachings with indifference. It is true there are some amongst them who are opposed to these teachings, but on the other hand there are those in their ranks who tenaciously hold to them; the remainder manifest a total indifference.'

As far as I am aware the "Glanton" brethren have always stood for the truth of Christ. Many of their leading teachers wrote to JT and others when he introduced "non-eternity of Christ's sonship" among the "London" party.

In any case, "Glanton" was withdrawn from by the "London" leaders, and this was rather the result of the way things had been going among those who had remained in fellowship with Mr Raven, though London put it down to "Glanton's interference in the Lord's rights with regard to local responsibility" or words to that effect.

If "Glanton" had been "leavened" by association with Mr Raven, they were now publicly no longer in fellowship with him. In fact, the Lord had taken him five years before.

At this stage in time with primary sources now being made available through this website and others, we can evaluate objectively these matters. However, we have to confess that which has dishonoured the Lord's name and scattered the sheep of His flock.

The "we've been right all along and never ever been wrong" attitude was never that of Ezra, Nehemiah, or Daniel in their day. See chapter 9 of each of their books.
Thursday, Aug 11, 2022 : 15:18
Syd said ...
On the “brokenness” of the Church, John Calvin wrote 500 years ago— “The sadder the desolation is to which the Church has been brought, the less ought our affections to be alienated from her.... it ought to draw from us sighs and groans; and would to God that the melancholy description in this passage were not so applicable to our own time as it is! He, no doubt, has his churches erected in some places, where He is purely worshipped; but, if we cast our eyes upon the whole world, we behold His word every where trampled under foot, and His worship defiled by countless abominations. Such being the case, His holy temple is assuredly every where demolished, and in a state of wretched desolation; yea, even those small churches in which He dwells are torn and scattered.”
Soon after the apostle Paul, we see evidence of departure from the truth, and “ruin” in the professing Church.

Everyone of those earlier brethren assert Scripture about only the Father knowing the Son, but then most still try to "reveal the Son"; going perhaps further than what is written in the Word. I’m not defending Boyd with regard to that in which he is clearly found to be wrong (if proven so from Scripture), but he does seem to correctly castigate those who, in his estimation - trying to declare the Son - “ruthlessly divided our blessed Lord and Saviour into two persons, one divine, the other human” when they asserted that as Man He had no knowledge concerning Mark 13:32, but as God He would know.

Perhaps someone should study the entire volume of Boyd's writings, and collate everything concerning this issue of the "Person" of Christ. In one piece (Is Jesus God?) Boyd writes: “That Jesus was a Man every true Christian will confess—a real Man—as truly a Man as was Adam or any of his race. A Man with spirit, soul, and body.” In another, “The Son,” he withdraws his statement about denying a human spirit to Christ, but then again tries to qualify it.

If it's about giving Boyd his due regard, or not, then study his writings carefully, and don't rely on 2nd, 3rd ....-hand comments. This applies to everyone. One said: "read Darby!" Then you have to read Darby and not what others said he wrote.

Friday, Aug 12, 2022 : 17:59
Deartháir said ...
A word of thanks to Mr. Fleet for kindly providing me with the marital details of Mr. Boyd.

The 1921 census states that he was born in Faughanvale in the year 1851 - correction needed in the introduction.

Carrickhue ( earlier post) is a townland in the Parish of Faughanvale.

The census also confirms that Mrs Boyd was born in Doagh which is about two miles from Ballyclare.
Sunday, Aug 21, 2022 : 01:23
Gershom said ...
It is apparent that some of those who are commenting on Mr James Boyd are unaware of the circumstances surrounding the ‘Boyd matter’.

After nearly fifty years of marriage, Mr Boyd’s wife was called Home. Over the years, in his absence from home on the Lord’s service, his missives to his wife displayed his loving heart and the depths of his appreciation for the helpmeet who had succoured him so tenderly in periods of ill health. This side of his nature was unknown to those who listened to the ministry of one who was regarded as a gruff Irishman.

It was after his bereavement that he travelled for the last time to North America.

Below is from the paper by P.P. Wahlstad, dated Nov. 6, 1928, to which reference was made in an earlier contribution .

“Mr Boyd, as is well known, is a recognised teacher of the Word whose home is in England, but who on several occasions in recent years has travelled extensively on the American continent, visiting among our assemblies and ministering the Word of God. Everywhere the value of his ministry has been recognised and saints have been edified and helped in the things of God. If now it could be shown that, taking advantage of their unsuspecting confidence, Mr Boyd instilled into the minds of our brethren the poison of ‘damnable heresies’, there would undoubtedly be good ground for taking prompt and drastic action against him. But again, what are the facts? They are, that at no time and in no place, either publicly or privately, during the many months he spent among us, did Mr Boyd even hint at the views with which later his name has been linked. If he did, let it be shown.

When his tractate was printed and circulated, Mr Boyd’s ministry in America had come to an end. He was returning to his homeland, not expecting—chiefly because of his advanced age—ever to come back. His steamer passage had been reserved; in a few days he would sail. It was then and not until then that his tractate containing the oft-quoted statement appeared.

It can hardly fail to strike the thoughtful reader that a teacher who, during his entire sojourn among us and in all his ministry never in any manner set forth the views which later came to light in a printed booklet for general circulation cannot by us be rejected as a teacher of false doctrine. By common agreement his ministry among us was sound and helpful, always along the lines and according to the terms of Scripture. Were we to brand him as suggested, we should not only be guilty of gross injustice and base ingratitude, but we should be placing ourselves in the embarrassing position of a company who, without due cause—really without any cause—condemned a servant of Christ, whose walk and service had consistently commended him as a man of God.”

The tractates written by Mr Boyd just before his return to the U.K. were to refute serious error uttered in N. America by Mr Andrew Westwood, who “was not a teacher. He was viewed as a simple brother whose voice was not heard outside his local meeting.” There was an immediate reaction amongst the brethren in the U.K., who, rightly, wanted to question Mr Boyd himself. He withdrew the tractate, which was accepted by his local assembly and by others where he had previously ministered. Later, brethren wrote, “There was no evidence of a system of error developing.”

This is where a little understanding of Mr Boyd’s position is required. After his final journey across the Atlantic, in “advanced age”, there was no loving wife to greet him.
He felt keenly the loss of her calming influence. When visiting the assembly mentioned in the previous contribution, he said, rather movingly, to his host, “There is no one now who calls me ‘James’.” After many years of faithful service, the old man was perturbed that his word should be questioned and this doubtless hastened the onset of his cognitive decline which marred his last years.

The brother, whose comments were quoted in my first communication and who sat under the ministry of many of the well known teachers in the first half of the last century, on more than one occasion in my hearing stated that no brother kept more closely to the teaching of J.N.D. than Mr Boyd.

Monday, Aug 22, 2022 : 20:00
Syd said ...

Close to the end of his life, JND wrote to Mr Boyd about a matter concerning another brother who was confused, and seemingly wrong - Mr Darby objected to the spirit of the opposition. He also credited the accused (M. Taylor) with his sound beliefs. We can perhaps learn from this.

What has been written against Mr Boyd, has been written; this will not change. Those who commented on him in the early 20th century knew the circumstances better than we today, yet they may have erred in their judgement. Some today may exonerate Mr Boyd or not. Assemblies almost 100 years ago divided over Raven, and Boyd, and others. The sad legacy is there. But we are still able to learn.

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2022 : 03:41
Rodger said ...
Does someone have the Wahlstad paper to contribute?
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2022 : 21:36

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