William James (Jim) Grier was born on 18 November 1902 and grew up on a farm in County Donegal, Ireland. As a Classics student at Queen’s University Belfast, he was converted through the witness of a Christian student friend and in a W. P. Nicholson mission meeting. He was a foundation member of the university’s Christian Union, and then studied theology under Gresham Machen, Robert Dick Wilson and Geerhardus Vos in Princeton Seminary, New Jersey, 1923-25.
Having learned from Machen of the fight for the Reformed faith within Presbyterianism, he returned for a compulsory year at the Irish Presbyterian College in Belfast and found himself in the same fight for the gospel against unscriptural teaching in the college. After three weeks in the classroom, listening in silence to things he knew were wrong, he began to challenge one of his professors, and later became involved as a witness for the prosecution in an attempt at church discipline. When the charges against this professor were defeated by a 90 percent majority in the church courts, Grier regarded this verdict as a declaration of institutional unorthodoxy by the Church and resigned.
Jim Grier became one of the founding ministers of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ireland, managed the Evangelical Bookshop in central Belfast, edited the Church’s Evangelical Presbyterian magazine for fifty-three years, and ministered the gospel faithfully in what became the Stranmillis congregation. He was a trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust, co-chairman of the Leicester Ministers’ Conference, a founding member of the British Evangelical Council (now Affinity), and served on committees of the Evangelical Fellowship of Ireland and the Evangelical Library in Belfast. Through the magazine and inter-church relations, he was a well-known and enormously respected leader throughout the international Reformed constituency.
He retired in 1979 after a ministry of almost fifty-two years and went to be with the Lord on 6 August 1983. He was the author of many booklets, articles, tracts, Daily Readings and Calendar Notes, including The Momentous Event and The Life of John Calvin, published by the Trust.