Monday, July 07, 2008

Another Bookseller

We are pleased to announce the addition of Particular Baptist Press of Springfield, Missouri, to our list of good Reformed publishers and bookshops. The work of Pastor Gary Long, Particular Baptist Press specialises in the publication of historic Baptist titles of lasting worth. It falls under our Scottish remit because the Particular Baptist Press publishes the two commentaries of James Haldane, on Galatians and Hebrews. We expect that most of our readers are familiar with the masterly commentary of Robert Haldane on the Epistle to the Romans, but we wonder how many are aware that his brother James wrote two commentaries. These two books are of particular interest to Baptists as having been written by a Baptist from a consciously Baptist standpoint. It is James Haldane's contention that it is the confusion of Old and New Testament worship that is responsible for the corruption of the Church today. Even for those who disagree with him, the books are a good read as exegetical apologia for the Baptist position.

But to our mind the most important volumes that Particular Baptist Press have produced are the Life and Works of Joseph Kinghorn. Kinghorn was a Baptist pastor of Scottish descent, born in Northumberland, trained in Bristol, who spent his whole ministerial career in one place, as the pastor of St. Mary's Baptist Church in Norwich. And for Clarification, the building was called St. Mary's because it was in St. Mary's Plain (sort of like a square), not because of some outbreak of Baptist Mariolatry.
Kinghorn was probably second only to John Gill in his learning and intellect, and after Gill's death he was certainly the greatest mind among the Particular Baptists. Given this, readers amy wonder why he is so little known, and why he ministered all his life in Norwich. The answer is that he chose to remain a pastor in the 'fine City' of Norwich rather than to accept a call to a more public station. Furthermore, the question forgets that such a man as Kinghorn was needed in Norwich, for it was a far more learned and intellectual city than men imagine. Possessed of the first free public library in England, the citizens of Norwich had an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the stores of human learning, good and bad, and the city boasted the finest Unitarian Chapel in England, full of cultured unbelievers. Furthermore, Kinghorn's learning in Hebrew equipped him for the work of evangelism in the city that once boasted the only 'Synagogue Street' in England, and his knowledge of the Scriptures prepared him for the work of reaching out to the Romanist population of Costessy (pronounced 'Cossey' because we Norfolk folk like to catch you foreigners out), a few miles from the city.

Kinghorn was also an evangelist among the ignorant nominally protestant population outside of Norwich, under God founding several Baptist Churches in Norfolk. We have preached at one of them, in the village of Salhouse.

Volume one of this set is biographical, while Volume two contains various writings by Kinghorn, including two sermons addressed to Jews and a printed debate with a Unitarian. They show his heart for perishing sinners and his earnest desire to exalt Christ. Whilst the Presbyterian Churches have produced such luminaries as the Hodges and Alexanders, B.B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Thomas Chalmers, William Cunningham and R.L. Dabney, so long as the Baptist Churches have such men as Dr. Gill and Dr. Kinghorn in our history, we have no cause to be ashamed of the learning of our forefathers.

Particular Baptist Press features reviews of the first volume of Kinghorn by George Ella and Michael Haykin .



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