Monday, March 28, 2016

"Baptists on the American Frontier" by Chester Raymond Young: A Review

As was true of almost all early Kentucky Baptist ministers, Taylor did not pretend to be a scholar. Even so, he possessed common sense, genuine piety, and the native ability to reason and understand. At his death he owned at least two dozen books that he probably had put to good use. (45-46)

I have been doing a lot of research on the early baptists of Kentucky. One of the key figures in the first debates of Kentucky Baptist life is John Taylor. He wrote several books, but his most influential (at least to historians) is his A History of Ten Baptist Churches. The book chronicles the ten churches, most of which were in Kentucky that Taylor had been a member of. More recently, Chester Raymond Young has published an edited version of the book entitled Baptists on the American Frontier: A History of Ten baptist Churches of Which the author Has been Alternately a Member by John Taylor.

Young does more than republish an open domain book. Rather, he offers an extensive introduction and biography of Taylor and provides insightful explanatory footnotes in the book itself. In essence, Young does much of the researchers work for them. The biographical section is well written and clearly well-researched. Young portrays Taylor as a faithful minister of the gospel who worked tirelessly to spread the good news of Jesus who was both serious about his work, but had a clear sense of humor.

In short, for anyone serious about early Kentucky Baptist history, this is a must have book.
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