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The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

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Joseph Parker
Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker (9 April 1830 - 28 November 1902) was an English Congregational minister.

Parker's preaching differed widely from his contemporaries like Spurgeon and Alexander Maclaren. He did not follow outlines or list his points, but spoke extemporaneously, inspired by his view of the spirit and attitude behind his Scripture text. He expressed himself frankly, with conviction and passion. His transcriber commented that he was at his best when he strayed furthest from his loose outlines.

He did not often delve into detailed textual or critical debates. His preaching was neither systematic theology nor expository commentary, but sound more like his personal meditations. Writers of the time describe his delivery as energetic, theatrical and impressive, attracting at various times famous people and politicians such as William Gladstone.

Parker's chief legacy is not his theology but his gift for oratory. Alexander Whyte commented on Parker: "He is by far the ablest man now standing in the English-speaking pulpit. He stands in the pulpit of Thomas Goodwin, the Atlas of Independency. And Dr. Parker is a true and worthy successor to this great Apostolic Puritan." Among his biographers, Margaret Bywater called him "the most outstanding preacher of his time," and Angus Watson wrote that "no one had ever spoken like him."

Another writer and pastor, Ian Maclaren, offered the following tribute: "Dr. Parker occupies a lonely place among the preachers of our day. His position among preachers is the same as that of a poet among ordinary men of letters."