Derek Thomas (theologian)

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Dr. Derek Thomas
Derek W. H. Thomas

(1953-02-07) February 7, 1953 (age 66)
ResidenceColumbia, South Carolina, U.S.
NationalityU.S. Citizen (naturalized)
OccupationProfessor of Theology and Pastor
Rosemary Iris Thomas (m. 1976)
ChildrenEllen Lockington (Thomas), Owen Thomas

Derek W. H. Thomas is a reformed pastor and theologian known for his teaching, writing and editorial work. He is currently the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, South Carolina and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia.


Thomas is originally from Wales. In 1978, he completed his ministerial training from Reformed Theological Seminary before moving on to receive his PhD from the University of Wales, Lampeter with a thesis on Calvin's preaching on the book of Job. He served as a pastor for 17 years in Belfast, Northern Ireland before returning to the United States in 1996 to serve as the Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson. In 2011, he accepted a call to serve as associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina.[1] He was called to be the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina on August 11, 2013.[2] He has written and edited 15 books, and has also produced a volume for the Biblical commentary series published by Banner of Truth Trust and Evangelical Press. In 2004, Derek Thomas became Editorial Director for The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the editor of its e-zine, Reformation 21.


In the fall of 2018 P&R Publishing released the following statement about Derek Thomas’ commentary on the book of Acts - “P&R recently became aware that portions of Derek Thomas’s Acts (Reformed Expository Commentary) include unattributed content from sermons by another pastor. Following a careful investigation, as well as discussions with the parties concerned, it appears that the lack of attribution resulted from unclear note-taking more than a decade before the commentary on Acts was written, and we believe it does not reflect intentional misuse on the part of the author. Nonetheless, in keeping with our editorial policy and our desire to hold to high ethical standards of transparency, we must regretfully withdraw this commentary from circulation.”[3]

"The session at First Presbyterian backed Thomas strongly in a statement of support, saying he would be exonerated from outside 'attacks.'”[4]

Reformed Theological Seminary, which he works for as a professor, also cleared his name, saying, "an RTS committee reviewing the Acts incident had cleared Thomas of 'any knowing and intentional plagiarism.' He [Ligon Duncan] added that Thomas will continue to teach. 'From the standpoint of RTS,' Duncan wrote, 'the case is now closed.'"[5]

A commission of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Catawba Presbytery found that Derek Thomas did plagiarize, though “unintentionally” and that “plagiarism is a serious offense that undermines both the witness and integrity of the Christian community.” It recommended his presbytery rebuke him for such, but added that he has had a good testimony as a minister and they hope he can move forward from this. [6]

To date, Derek Thomas has made no public statements acknowledging his plagiarism.


  • "Heaven On Earth:What the Bible Teaches about the Life to Come," Christian Focus, 2018
  • Strength For The Weary, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2018
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Guided Tour, Ligonier Ministries, 2014
  • How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2011
  • Acts: Reformed Expository Commentary 2011 (withdrawn by the publisher in November 2018 due to "unattributed content from sermons by another pastor"[7])
  • What Is Providence? (Basics of the Faith) P & R, 2008
  • Let’s Study Galatians Banner of Truth, 2004
  • Calvin’s Teaching on Job: Proclaiming the Incomprehensible God Christian Focus Publications, 2004.
  • Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship (Ed. With J. Ligon Duncan III and Philip Graham Ryken) P & R, 2003
  • Let’s Study Revelation Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2003
  • Mining for Wisdom: 28 Daily Readings from Job Evangelical Press, 2002.
  • Making the Most of your Devotional Life Evangelical Press, 2001
  • Praying the Saviour’s Way Christian Focus, 2001
  • God Delivers: Isaiah Simply Explained, Welwyn Commentary Series, Evangelical Press, 1991, second impression 1998. Second Impression 1998.
  • The Essential Commentaries for a Preacher’s Library, Reformed Academic Press, 1996.
  • Taken Up To Heaven: The Ascension of Christ, with a foreword by J. Ligon Duncan, Evangelical Press, 1996.
  • The Storm Breaks: Job Simply Explained, Welwyn Commentary Series, Evangelical Press, 1995. Second Impression 2004
  • God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained, Welwyn Commentary Series, Evangelical Press, 1993. Second Impression 2003.
  • Help for Hurting Christians: Reflections on Psalms, Evangelical Press, 1991.
  • Wisdom: The Key to Living God’s Way, Christian Focus Publications, 1990.
  • Serving the King: A Guide to Christian Usefulness, Evangelical Press, 1989.


  1. ^ Don K. Clements (March 28, 2011). "Derek Thomas Called as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC". The Aquila Report. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
  2. ^ "Derek Thomas Called as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC". The Aquila Report. August 13, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Acts". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  4. ^ Belz, Emily. "A matter of attribution - WORLD". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  5. ^ Belz, Emily. "A matter of attribution - WORLD". Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Acts". Retrieved 2018-12-04.

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