How One Missionary Started a Century-Long Movement: Jim Ruff on ABWE Founder Raphael Thomas

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In 1927, the evangelical church was split in two—between gospel-proclaiming fundamentalists and followers of the social gospel. Caught in the struggle was Baptist missionary Dr. Raphael Thomas. When his life and ministry took some unexpected turns, he was faced with a choice—and his actions sparked a missions movement nearly 100 years long. Who was Raphael Thomas? Jim Ruff, missionary and author of an upcoming biography on the ABWE founder, walks us through Thomas’ life and why it matters for Christians today.

Learn more about the legacy of Dr. Thomas and its connection to the mission today.

Jim (M.Div., D.Min.) is a retired church-planting and leadership training missionary to Japan (20 years) and Trainer and Associate Director of training for ABWE (14 years). He’s also served for a term in church planting in the Chicago area. He wrote one of the ABWE Bible courses, and serves as a Proctor for missionaries taking the Methods of Bible Study course. For the past seven years, he’s taught at Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit University.

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