Thank you King James

Thank you King James: the tough life of Robert Hicks

James Hastings
Day One; 2010; Pbk., 160p., ISBN 9781846252327

If you attended either of LCF’s public lectures at the Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath, in 1993 or 2010, you may remember Robert Hicks, who gave the closing vote of thanks on both occasions.

Robert has a distinguished record, both as a businessman and Christian communicator. He was responsible for the mass distribution of gospels at the time of the Millennium celebrations. More recently, he has been a leading figure in Back to Church Sunday. As a publisher he has helped to pioneer international co-editions of Christian books. His recent projects include Open Your Bible, an all-in-one guide published in CD-ROM format.

This recent biography, however, reveals that Robert’s progress through life has been far from easy. Raised in poverty in inner city and rural areas, and the victim of child abuse, for many years he suffered from a speech impediment that could have been cured by a simple surgical procedure if his parents had bothered to seek medical advice.

His life was turned around when he discovered an old King James Bible in a cupboard in his family home. Encouraged by his speech therapist to copy out the text by hand, and read it aloud, he experienced conversion to the Christian faith which had a radical impact on his future.

Robert enjoyed a successful business career in the retail trade, during which he introduced many innovations that are now taken for granted in the world of supermarkets. His entrepreneurial spirit proved less welcome when he first moved into Christian bookselling and publishing, however, and found that his ideas on marketing were too radical for the staid staff of a major Christian organisation. Later, he formed his own publishing company, Creative Publishing, which continues until this day.

Life has continued to be tough, however, and the book includes a moving account of the death of Robert’s first wife from cancer.

Thank You King James provides an impressive account of the way in which the Christian gospel can change people’s lives. It also shows, in this four hundredth anniversary year of the King James translation, that the authentic Word of God can still be encountered in the seemingly archaic language of the seventeenth century.

Contributed by: Graham Hedges, Hon. FCLIP, MCLIP, who is CLIS Secretary.