Groves, Anthony Norris

Groves, Anthony Norris
( 1795-1853 )
   founder of the faith mission model
   Anthony Norris Groves, missiologist and a leader of the Plymouth Brethren, was born at Newton, Hampshire, England, in 1795. After a successful career as a dentist, he developed a desire to become a foreign missionary and applied to the Church Missionary Society (an agency of the Church of England). In 1825, he and his wife moved to Dublin, where he entered Trinity College to prepare himself.
   While at Trinity, he met John Nelson Darby and the small group of believers who were to inaugurate the Plymouth Brethren movement. Groves withdrew from the Church of England and the Church Missionary Society. In 1829, he became the first missionary representative of the Brethren. He spent his first years (1829-33) in Iraq, but given the hostile atmosphere he was relatively unproductive there. His wife died during these years.
   In 1825, Groves wrote a booklet, "Christian Devotedness," which made the case that Jesus' words to his disciples were applicable to all Christians, including such commands as "Sell all that you have and give to the poor,... and come follow me." He and his wife tried to live by such standards, and he preached them to his colleagues and audiences. He also shunned traditional ways of raising funds, including the denominational sending agencies. He advocated that missionaries rely solely on prayer and trust in God. He himself engaged in farming and business to provide funds for his ministry.
   Groves moved to India in 1833 to implement his ideas of independent "faith" missions. He worked for 20 years there, leaving behind a small following and one major disciple, John Aurlappen. He also influenced many through his books and his work, most notably Chinese missionary leader Watchman Nee, and Indian evangelist Bakht Singh. When the Brethren split into Exclusive and Open factions in 1848, Grove adhered to the Open Brethren, now known as the Christian Brethren. Groves retired to England and died in May 1853.
   Further reading:
   ■ Anthony N. Groves, Christian Devotedness (Kansas City, Kans.: Walterick Publishers, 1993)
   ■ G. H. Lang, Anthony Norris Groves, Saint & Pioneer: A Combined Study of a Man of God & of the Original Principles & Practices of the Brethren with Applications to the Present Conditions (London: Paternoster, 1949)
   ■ Harriet Groves, Memoir of the Late A.N. Groves, Containing Extracts from His Letters and Journals. By His Widow (London, 1856), rpt. as Memoir of the Late Anthony Norris Groves (Sumneytown, Pa.: Sentinel Publications, 2003)
   ■ Hy Pickering, Chief Men among the Brethren (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1961).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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