Thursday, April 14, 2011

James Brainerd Taylor, 210th anniversary . . . J.B.T. at . . . J.B.T. book review in New England Historical Association News

In honor of the 210th anniversary of the birth of James Brainerd Taylor (born April 15, 1801), Uncommon Christian Ministries is pleased to announce that a photo of J. B. Taylor's gravestone has been online since September 8, 2008.

Grave Memorial No. 29657825 at correctly records the inscription found on the gravestone located at Hampden-Sydney College Church's Presbyterian cemetery in Prince Edward County, Virginia:

James B. Taylor.
Of Middle Haddam, Conn.
A Preacher of the Gospel.
Died in this County.
At the house of his friend
Doctor Rice [John Holt Rice, 1777-1831].
On the 29th of March, 1829.
In the 28th year of his age [actually, 17 days shy of his 28th birthday].
Reader, his epitaph is,
what he would have yours to be.
A sinner saved by grace.

There also exists an obelisk (memorial monument/stone) to J. B. Taylor in the Taylor Family burial plot at Union Hill Cemetery in rural Middle Haddam, Connecticut.

Ten years ago, on April 15, 2001, it was fitting that the bicentennial anniversary of J. B. Taylor's birth fell on Easter/Resurrection Sunday. Though once well known among mid-to-late 19th-century American and European Christians, it is nice to see the American evangelist's "uncommon Christian" life and ministry being resurrected in the early 21st century via books and the Internet, including the free online (Google Books) editions of the two memoirs published on him in the 1830's.

Also, a book review of An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening (University Press of America, 2008) appears on page 16 in the 24-page spring 2011 newsletter (Vol. 37, No. 1) of the New England Historical Association (est. 1965).

The review is by Dr. Leslie P. Fairfield, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Trinity School of Ministry: An Evangelical Anglican Seminary (est. 1975), Ambridge, Pennsylvania. In it, Prof. Fairfield states in his closing paragraph,

Francis Kyle has written a thorough, careful, balanced biography of this evangelical saint, so influential in mid-19th century America and so little known today. Based on exhaustive research in the relevant sources, this book offers a grass-roots view of New England revivalism in the 1820's, as the foundations of the antebellum "Evangelical Empire" were being laid. Readers interested in early New England and undergraduate studies of American religion should find this work accessible, interesting and useful.

Regarding the review's author, the first-ever issue of Trinity Journal for Theology and Ministry (Fall 2007, Vol. 1) was devoted to "Anglicanism, Past and Future: Studies in Honor of the Rev. Dr. Leslie P. Fairfield." Prof. Fairfield (B.A., Princeton; Ph.D., Harvard) is the author of John Bale [1495-1563]: Mythmaker for the English Reformation (2006) and--among other online and print articles--"The Trinity and Postmodern Evangelism" (The Anglican Quarterly, Fall 2010).

May today's church, seminary and university be instructed and challenged upon learning about the Princeton University and Yale Seminary-trained Taylor and his advocacy for uncommon Christianity--"eminently holy, self-denying, cross-bearing, Bible, everyday" Christianity.

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