Anthony Norris Groves

1795-1853. Plymouth Brethren* leader. After studying chemistry, dentistry, and surgery in London, Groves settled in dental practice first in Plymouth (1813), then in Exeter (1816). In 1826 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, to prepare for ordination, but came to see that “ordination of any kind to preach the gospel is no requirement of Scripture.” In Dublin he associated with the group that included J.G. Bellett and J.N. Darby.* He influenced Bellett to the view that the principle of union among Christians was “the love of Jesus, instead of oneness of judgment in minor things. . . .” In Christian Devotedness (1825) he advocated complete dependence on God for temporal needs. This influenced George Müller toward his lifelong principle of faith, and through him a host of others.

Groves sailed with his party for Baghdad in 1829, remaining there three years, during which time his wife died of plague. He remarried in 1835. For nineteen years from 1833 he labored in India and was latterly joined by others. Watching with concern Darby's tendency to domination, Grove's letter to Darby in 1836 struck a prophetic note of the results of setting more store on correctness than love. Unwell in 1852, he returned to England and died in George Müller's house in Bristol (Müller's wife was Groves's sister). Groves's views strongly influenced early Brethren; he was probably the pioneer of simpler, apostolic missionary principles. His eldest son Henry, a gifted Bible teacher, was also a leader among early Brethren.

H. Groves (his widow), Memoir of the late Anthony Norris Groves (1869); G.H. Lang, Anthony Norris Groves (1949); see also books listed under article Plymouth Brethren.