Samuel, Leith


b Wallasey, Merseyside (Ches) 1915, d Frinton, Essex 1999. Wallasey Grammar Sch; Univ of Liverpool 1933–36, Queen’s Coll Birmingham 1936–37. He worked at St Mark’s New Ferry from 1937–38 with a view to ordination, but differences over baptism caused him to separate decisively from the CofE. He developed a preaching and evangelistic ministry, often in association with Brethren assemblies, and in 1947 began a 5-year work with the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (later UCCF) as a ‘Missioner’ for students—a unique title among the other Travelling Secretaries. In 1952 he was called to what became Above Bar Ch (then ‘The Church of Christ’) in Southampton, where he remained until retirement in 1980. There he embarked from the start on what he called and urged on others as ‘SCEOTS’, or the ‘Systematic Consecutive Exposition of the Scriptures’, with 8 reasons for adopting it. Already indebted spiritually to Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and working in harmony with him, he led the church into the FIEC in 1967, the same year as ‘the Doctor’ did so at Westminster Chapel; he was FIEC President in 1983.

Meanwhile he continued a wide-ranging ministry among students, conducting more than 60 evangelistic missions and further Bible-readings in universities and colleges, notably at the Southampton CU for 40 consecutive annual Bible readings, and in alternate years at Oxford and Cambridge. Among his writings were a series of small ‘Victory booklets’, The Answer to…, the best-selling The Impossibility of Agnosticism, issued by the S Africa General Mission and much reprinted and translated; books such as Awaiting Christ’s Return (1961), Twelve Vital Questions (1969/98) and There is an Answer (1990, a small book with some 2 dozen quotations from hymns and songs); and an autobiography A Man Under Authority (1993). Between 1949 and 1983 he was a frequent speaker at the annual Keswick Convention, and his overseas ministry included visits to Eastern Europe, S Africa and Malaysia. While maintaining a staunch Free Church and reformed Baptist position which sometimes involved public controversy, he enjoyed warm friendship with Christian leaders as diverse as the Arminian Baptist Billy Graham, the Calvinist Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and reformed Anglicans such as Dick Lucas and Alan Neech. He took a leading role in the former British Evangelical Council with its clear stance against false and liberal ecumenism. After his first wife, Mollie, died in 1988 he remarried in 1991 and moved to Frinton, Essex, where his second wife, Elizabeth Carter, lived. He was gifted with a remarkably expressive voice, powerful or gentle as the need required, not only in preaching but in his public reading of Scripture. It was in retirement that he began writing hymns. Nos.233, 504.

Hymns and songs by Samuel, Leith

Number Hymn Name
233 This is the day the Lord himself has made
504 Mercy in our time of failure