A Note on Frederick Leahy

A couple days ago I posted the first chapter of the book “The Cross He Bore” by Frederick Leahy.  I own most of the other books he has authored, although I haven’t had a chance to read most of them.  However, after reading “The Cross He Bore” and then the information about him on the Banner of Truth website, I decided this was a man I wanted to learn more from.  The last book that he wrote (completed at the age of 83) was a work on God’s sovereignty.  It was not written by a young seminary student, newly acquainted with the doctrines of grace, but by a seasoned veteran of the Christian life.  It was a reflection penned down by a man after years and years of walking by grace through faith of the sovereignty of God — not as an abstract principle, but as something very real and personal.  I am posting here the information I found on the Banner of Truth website because it is such a beautiful legacy to a man who sought to follow and honor the God I love.  There is little doubt that the Father loved His faithful servant, too.

Rev Prof Frederick S Leahy, MTh. (1922 – 2006)

By Robert McCollum

On Wednesday evening 4th January 2006 Rev Prof Frederick S Leahy died at the age of 83. He and his wife Margaret were planning to attend the pre-communion service in Lisburn Reformed Presbyterian Church. Instead the Lord took Fred to the communion of saints in Heaven.

Fred Leahy was born in Co Donegal in 1922, and after a short time in business trained for the Christian ministry at the Free Church College in Edinburgh. He graduated with an M.Th. in 1947 after a year of study at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, USA. Ordained in Finaghy Evangelical Church in 1949, he joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1953 and served in three congregations until his retirement in 1988. He is lovingly remembered in each congregation as a faithful preacher and caring pastor.

In 1967 his denomination recognized his gifts as a theologian and appointed him to the chair of Systematic Theology, Apologetics and Christian Ethics in the Reformed Theological College, Belfast. A clear thinker and precise communicator he left his theological imprint on the lives of all his students, creating in them a love for Christ and an attachment to the doctrines of the Reformed Faith. An excellent administrator he served as College Principal from 1993-2002.

Prof Leahy became known to the wider Christian community through his writing ministry. His first book “Satan Cast Out” has gone through a number of editions and has been trans-lated into several languages. His triology on Christ and his great work of Atonement – “The Cross He Bore”, “The Victory of the Lamb” and “Is it Nothing to You?” – illustrate the centrality of the Cross in this theologian’s life and ministry. An avid reader he contributed many book reviews to Journals and Magazines.

This servant of Christ kept active in service until the end. On the afternoon of his death he and his wife walked to the Post Office to send to Banner of Truth the manuscript of another book, “The Hand of God”. On the way back his wife suggested that he might purchase a notebook for his next book. She relates how he paused and said, “Margaret, I think I’ve said all I want to say.” Two hours later he died to receive a welcome into his eternal reward.

At his funeral service in Kilraughts RP Church two days later, Prof Ted Donnelly paid tribute to the life and work of Prof Leahy. He took as his text the words Christ used of John the Baptist. “He was a burning and shining lamp.” (Jn. 5:35) All who knew Frederick S Leahy can concur with those words as the light of the gospel of Christ shone brightly from his life and lips.

As an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ we can say of him, he fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith.

Robert McCollum is the Minister of Lisburn RP Church

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