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H. Boyce Taylor
By Ben Stratton
     Harvey Boyce Taylor was born in Ohio, County, KY on September 29, 1870. He was a fourth generation Kentucky Baptist preacher. Taylor was named for James P. Boyce, president of Southern Seminary from 1859 until 1888. He graduated with a B.A. and M.A. degree from Bethel College in Russellville, KY in 1890 and from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 1896 with a Th. M. While in Louisville, Taylor studied under men such as John Broadus, A. T. Robertson and John Sampey. He was also influenced by his mentor in the ministry, T. T. Eaton, pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville.

     Taylor was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Murray, KY from 1896 until 1931. While here, he was a strong supporter of missions and evangelism. When Taylor accepted this pastorate, the church membership stood at 127, yet when he left thirty-five years later, the membership stood at 524, in spite of the fact that he led the church to practice discipline during all his years as pastor. During this time, Taylor led the church members to knock on every door in Calloway County, handing out Christian literature and telling people about Christ. As a firm believer in foreign missions, Taylor led the Murray church to send and support several missionaries to Brazil. Taylor also led in the forming of the Amazon Valley Baptist Faith Mission, which later became Baptist Faith Mission. J.G. Love, Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board said Taylor was the "pastor of the greatest missionary church in the world." Taylor also led the Murray church, the Blood River Baptist Association and the General Association of Kentucky Baptists to adopt the "Unified Plan of Missions" which eventually become known as the Cooperative Program.

     Taylor was very influential among Southern Baptists in Kentucky. He served on and chaired numerous committees, including the Board of Missions. In 1913, he preached the annual sermon to the General Association of Kentucky Baptists on the subject of "Kingdom Building." In 1917, Taylor was chosen as moderator of the General Association.

     Taylor was a strong believer in the Baptist faith and did his best to help others understand the Baptist distinctives. In 1906, he started his own weekly Baptist paper, News and Truths, which continued until Taylor's death in 1932 with a circulation reaching approximately 3,000. Each year the church hosted the Murray Bible Institute with great Baptist speakers such as A.W. Pink, T. T. Martin, and Arthur Flake. In 1921, Taylor started the West Kentucky Bible School to educate the preacher boys in the area, with nearly 400 students studying there during sixteen years of existence. While Taylor loved men of all denominational backgrounds, he loved the truth too well to compromise it and fellowship with error.

[Ben Stratton is pastor of East Hickman Baptist Church, Hickman, KY.]

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