Joseph Kinghorn (1766–1832) and the Baptist Missionary Society

When John Stoughton (1807–1897) wrote about the English Baptist life in the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Norwich-born Congregationalist historian pointed out how “the hypercalvinistic controversy, the communion controversy, and the Serampore controversy” had impacted members of the Baptist sect. As an outgrowth of the first controversy, the life of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS, est. 1792) also became the eye of the storm in the latter two controversies. After the death of Andrew Fuller (1754–1815), the society’s first secretary, Joseph Kinghorn began to serve on the BMS committees. Besides representing the society for two Scottish trips, Kinghorn interviewed missionary candidates, preached anniversary sermons, and sought to reconcile Serampore with London after the division between the BMS and the Serampore Mission. By engaging primary sources, this paper examines Joseph Kinghorn’s contribution to the history of the Baptist Missionary Society, especially during the time of changes in institutional identity.

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