Govett was a brilliant English pastor, born in 1813 and died in 1901.
Govett wrote a hundred years before his time, and the day will come
when his works will be treasured as sifted gold." Charles H.
of the profoundest [works of Revelation] that I know of is the work of
Robert Govett. My own opinion is that he brings to his interpretation
a more thorough knowledge of the Scriptures in their bearing on the
last book of the Bible than any other writer of his generation."
Dr. Wilbur M. Smith
men could equal Govett for originality of thought. He also possessed a
well-ordered, disciplined mind. He could trace a theme through
Scripture with unerring logic." Dr. Cyril J. Barber, The
in Staines, Middlesex, Robert Govett entered Worcester College,
Oxford, in 1830, and after graduation was awarded a life fellowship in
1835. Ordained (1836-37), he became curate at St. Stephen's
Church, Norwich, where his preaching attracted great crowds until in
1844 he confessed that he had forced his conscience on the matter of
infant baptism and forthwith resigned his curacy and his
fellowship. Most of the congregation left the Church of England
and made Govett their pastor; services were held in Victoria Hall,
Norwich, and by 1848 he had baptized 300-400 former Anglicans.
Surrey Chapel, Norwich, was opened in 1854, and Govett ministered
there to the end of the century. This nondenominational
church still flourishes."
writings are extensive, of varying quality, and often marked by a high
level of scholarship, a superbly logical approach, extraordinary
originality, and complete faithfulness to biblical revelation.
Much concerned with eschatology (Apocalypse, 1864, and other
works), he held that much of the Book of Revelation is to be
understood literally." R. E. D. Clark, The New
International Dictionary of the Christian Church, J. D. Douglas,
general editor, page 426.
following is from Gleanings from Robert Govett
by Sentinel Kulp)
Robert Govett was born in England in
1813 and died at Norwich, England, in 1901. He enrolled at
Worcester College at Oxford in 1830, received a Bachelor of Arts degree
from Eaton in 1834, became a Fellow of Worcester in 1836, and received
his M.A. in 1837.
During the years of
his ministry, he became well known because of his brilliant deductive
and analytical capabilities. There were few men who equaled him in
his ability to use common practical sense (logic) to weed out any
weaknesses in a point of debate, and he was fearless in pursuing a line
of thinking for the purpose of bringing it to a close. He was of
the opinion that the Scriptures should always be open to a fresh
scrutiny based upon new light that might have been received and, because
of this, as the years passed he became independent of many of the
denominational views that he had previously adhered to.
He seems to have been
one of the first, if not the first, to present a clear view of
the judgment seat of Christ and its purpose in relation to the
millennial kingdom. Thus, it is a point of emphasis throughout
most of his writings. Through Scripture, he clearly delineates
between eternal life, the free gift that God gives to those who accept
the payment His Son made, and the prize, the reward of the millennial
reign, which one can attain to by producing the good works or fruits
that emanate from a walk of faith. The latter of the two is held
out to all the saints by the Almighty, but it is only given to those who
have submitted to the work of the Holy Spirit toward personal
Though he started his
duties in the Church of England as an Anglican minister, it was upon
witnessing a full immersion baptism that he became immediately convinced
of the Scriptural integrity of it, and, further, was so convicted of the
error of infant sprinkling that shortly thereafter he resigned from his
position within the Church of England, without knowing how he would
sustain himself. It was at this time, having been faithful
to the truth shown to him, that the Lord intervened. And, as a
reward for his obedience, a pastorate was provided at an independent
fellowship in Norwich.
Events such as these
became a cycle that were repeated many times throughout his life.
As the Lord would faithfully reveal some new truth to him, he would
respond in practice to it by correcting his views and preaching to
conform to the revelation and light just received. These were few
areas within his own beliefs that were held sacred. As a result,
in his pursuit for the truth, he was open to examining the most orthodox
of doctrines. Though at times this meant being ostracized by those
within Christianity who had allowed tradition to settle in and take over
where once the life of the Head through the guidance of the Spirit
existed, he was willing to pay the cost. Furthermore, he was so
taken up with knowing and serving a loving Lord, who was alive in his
life in a very practical way, that he never married. Rather, he
remained faithful to the call that was upon his life, pastoring the
flock that had been given to him at Norwich until the Lord saw fit to
take him home.
There are two
characteristics within his writings that are predominant, and each
yields a testimony of one who had matured into an intimate walk with the
Lord. One was his ability to take the multi-facets of the types,
shadows, and symbols of the Word and overlay them so as to compare them
against each other: an approach he used to confirm whether his
understanding of them was in line with the reasons and purpose God had
given them. For instance, if the underlying symbolism conflicted
with what appeared to be the literal meaning of a portion of Scripture,
he would set about to resolve the conflict. Thus, his writings are
rich in the types and shadows of the Old Testament, which he felt must
be learned if one is to expect a proper understanding of their
fulfillment in the New Testament. The other, is the ability he
developed to enter into the prophetic sense of the Word. A trait
which is distinctive among those who have grown sensitive in their
spirit to the mind of the Spirit, to the point that they have acquired
an acute ability to draw from the living Word or Rhemma.
In closing, let me
quote what the great preacher Charles Spurgeon said of Robert Govett: He
"wrote a hundred years before his time, and the day will come when
his works will be treasured as sifted gold." As so much
of what Robert Govett taught, preached, and warned the people of his day
has arrived in our time, surely that day has come. In his day, he
was an instrument used of the Lord to lead the souls of men from the
milk of the word to the meat. It is my hope and prayer that these
insights gleaned from the ten-thousand-plus pages of his works will be a
source for the feeding and nourishing of the saints of this generation,
who, for the most part, have not had the opportunity to partake of the
works of this great servant of the Lord!