Robert A. Jaffray

Robert A. Jaffray

Robert Alexander Jaffray (1873-1945) was a missionary to China, with the Christian & Missionary Alliance who served as the founding principal of the Alliance Seminary in Hong Kong and principal contributor and editor of the Chinese language "Bible Magazine". Jaffrey founded the first Chinese missionary society called the Chinese Foreign Missionary Union in 1929. His life is chronicled in the biography by A. W. Tozer "Let my people go!: The life of Robert A. Jaffray"(1947).


Robert Jaffray, was born in 1873 into a wealthy family of which his father owned Canada's "Toronto Globe" (today’s the Globe and Mail). Robert's father had great ambitions for his child, wanting him to one day become the CEO and owner of Toronto Globe.

Calling to Missionary

As a young man, Jaffray sensed that he had a calling to become a missionary. After having an encounter with the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, A.B Simpson, he decided it was that his calling was to take him serve as a missionary to China. His father was deeply opposed to this and threatened not to pay for his expenses to travel to China, although he would be willing to pay for the return trip if young Robert ever wanted to return from his long term missions.

Missionary Work

The Christian & Missionary Alliance sent Jaffray to Wuzhou, Guangxi, China in 1897. He served as leader of all Christian & Missionary Alliance work in south China. While he was there, his responsibilities included mission administration, preaching, evangelistic itineration, assistance in founding the Wuzhou Bible School (later called the "Alliance Seminary in Hong Kong"), editor of the Chinese "Bible Magazine", and writer for his publications. The Chinese-language Bible Magazine, which he edited and for which he wrote many of the articles, was read in Chinese communities all over the world. Jaffray was known for his leadership qualities, and was called a "missionary strategist and statesman." He wrote for and edited "Bible Messenger", published by South China Alliance Press He used this publication to send training materials to Cantonese missionaries and then later to others, reprinted in their "colloquial language versions."

Jaffray served in Wuzhou for 35 years, in spite of a heart condition and diabetes. One of his accomplishments was founding the Chinese Foreign Missionary Union. Arrested in 1942 by the Japanese, he was kept in internment camps, until he died in 1945 from illness and malnutrition.


*"The supreme and crying need of this lost world is the gospel. Shall we not rise at Christ's command to carry the blessed saving news to every perishing one?"


* Tozer, A.W. "Let my people go!: The life of Robert A. Jaffray"(1947) ISBN087509189X
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* [ Toronto Jaffray Chinese Alliance Church » About Us ] at
*"To All People", Niklaus

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