“The Board being so pressed I have declined two months’ salary. This I do very cheerfully, though it presses me. I have lived with sufficient comfort in some things, but have used and am using a very strict economy, foregoing many things that I think few brethren would wish or expect me to do.”- George Boardman Taylor
George Boardman Taylor was born to be a Southern Baptist Missionary. He was the son of J.B. Taylor, one the first Vice Presidents elected by the Southern Baptist Convention. His parents named him George Boardman after a missionary who died in the field and his father taught him to read the New Testament by age four. G.B. Taylor was born on December 27, 1832 (Taylor, 8) and he died on the mission field in Rome, Italy on September 28, 1907 (Ray, 163).
G.B. Taylor was a man of many offices. He served as a University Chaplain, a captain in the Confederate Army, pastor, school teacher, and missionary. After his ordination to the Gospel ministry, Taylor had the privilege of studying under John Broadus.
Trouble was brewing with the work of the Southern Baptist Missionary in Rome, W.N. Cote, and in March of 1873 Taylor was called to replace Dr. Cote by the Foreign Mission Board. When he arrived, he found that every church member that was present before his arrival had departed from the church and he had to start his work from scratch. According to Ray, Dr. Taylor was met with much resistance by Catholic landlords and he endured many lawsuits in the process of establishing the Baptist chapel in Rome (Ray, 155). While he was in Rome, Dr. Taylor wrote a manual of systematic theology in the native language, a resource that was much needed at that time in the cradle of Catholicism, along with a monthly journal entitled The Sower.
In 1901, according to Dr. Taylor’s request, a report was brought before the board and a request was made for a theological school to be formed in the city of Rome. The concluding point of the report from the SBC annual reads:
4. In conclusion, your committee would recommend that the whole matter of organizing and operating the said school be referred to the Foreign Mission Board with instructions to institute and complete the work according to the demands of the field consistent with the means and opportunities which favor the scheme, and to this end your committee would beg to be discharged.
The report passed without discussion and Dr. Taylor had a theological school in Rome shortly thereafter.
Dr. Taylor was an unhealthy man but he did not let his illness slow him down. He fell victim to frequent migraine headaches but he refused to let it slow him down. He ministered to men from the battlefield of the Civil War to the streets of Rome. As noted in the quote above, he often had to sacrifice so that he could remain on the mission field and bring the Gospel of justification by faith to Rome.
For further reading see George Braxton Taylor. Life and Letters of George Boardman Taylor, D.D. (Lynchburg: J.P. Bell Co.) 1910. and T.B. Ray. Southern Baptist Foreign Missions. (Nashville: Sunday School Board). 1910.
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