Updated: Oct 30, 2020
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
As a man who likes to plan, organise and be organised the aforementioned verse has often been Biblical truth that fuels my praise and worship to the Lord in prayer. Why? Because what is taking place in my life is according to the Lord’s providence and this has included His chastening and refining work in my character and life, and in circumstances that went far beyond anything I could have planned or contemplated. This is what I am writing about as I reflect on the Lord’s guiding of my steps in my book writing and journey into establishing a Reformed Baptist Publishing House in Scotland.
In 2018 I decided to expand an increasingly lengthy article on the topic of ‘trust in marriage’ which became an entire book about Biblical marriage. I informed my friend, Daniel Funke, knowing that he had done typesetting and editorial work at the Banner of Truth. I was not so bold as to directly ask him to help make this work presentable but I was so subtle as to hint it! He and I are good friends and he very kindly did a typesetting and minor editorial work and it looked very professional! During this process, I recall a conversation with Daniel where he initially asked me what I plan to do with the book, and I thought I would submit it to some Christian publishers for their consideration (as I had done this for the first book I had written). Daniel proceeded to share his desire to set up a publisher himself and believed he had learned some of the tools to do it, and to do it well. The conversation never went further but I pondered those words.
In 2019 I began a church plant in Aberdeen (my dear church family at Grace Baptist Church Aberdeen) and my wife gave birth to our second child, our daughter Endian. It was busy and the book I had written wasn’t a great focus. I had sent it to a small number of publishers but either didn’t get responses or rejections. However, ministry and family life in Aberdeen was a rich blessing in the midst of many challenges.
Into 2020 a lot changed ... but not all of it was bad! I decided to submit my book manuscript to more publishers. I also had another conversation with Daniel on the topic, and he spoke more explicitly about a potential idea for beginning a publisher: a special and quality edition of the 1689 Baptist Confession with the Scripture proof texts. It was a huge surprise that there was not such a product on the market and I instantly knew that if we could begin with any product and have some success then it would be this. Another important point to stress, from my perspective, is that Daniel has a relentless approach and an incredible talent in typesetting and growing knowledge of this industry and I trust his ability in this work significantly.
It was the intention that my marriage book would also be published by us, but I began to get offers from publishers offering to publish my book. One of the offers was from a known publisher called Wipfandstock and I thought it would be good to get my book published with them and focus our other attention more fully on the Confession.
During the summer months and into the Autumn, it has been a steep but fascinating learning curve as I have paid careful attention to the process by Wipfandstock and also in working alongside Daniel in preparation for launching our project.
Regarding the marriage book, a number of things became clear to me:
- My English is good but it was riddled with errors. That was humbling but the process has improved my English and grammar further! I am thankful for faithful brothers (and my dear mother) for their input in proofreading.
- American English v British English. But not an argument over ‘which is better’, but simply being consistent and not mixing the two!
- Once your book is written, there is an art to making a book look good. I am thankful that Wipfandstock were happy to use Daniel’s typesetting (not a surprise since it is excellent).
- I have an increased interest in book publishing and this has given me a greater drive for the works we can do as a publisher.
This book has now been released after a number of people kindly endorsed it and Gavin Peacock also wrote a very Biblically grounded foreword. At the same time, Daniel and I have now worked out a comprehensive plan for marketing the Confession along with an extra book on Doctrine including works by Benjamin Keach (and Hercules Collins?). We set up a publisher called Parresia, we are now a limited company, we have launched the project on Kickstarter and surpassed our financial goal within 33 hours of launching this to the public. It has been a very eventful period and it is exciting to think that we are just getting started. I also thank God that He has directed my steps in this process, that I am working alongside a Godly and gifted man in this work, and a personal friend who has been a blessing to me in my life and ministry.