The Believer’s Magazine
Published by John Ritchie Ltd, Kilmarnock
John Ritchie was born in Old Meldrum Aberdeen in 1853. He was born again in Inverurie in 1871 at a meeting where Donald Munro, a well known evangelist, preached the gospel. Twenty young converts met to study the Scriptures and to pray. When news reached them that Donald Ross, another gospel preacher was holding meetings in the village of Old Rayne and that Christians there were meeting each Lord’s Day to remember the Lord in the Breaking of Bread, they attended one Lord’s Day to observe what was taking place. Having determined that what these believers were preaching and practising was in accord with the Word of God, they were baptised and commenced breaking bread.
John Ritchie was soon engaged in gospel preaching in barns, houses, shops or in the open air. The demands on his time became so great that he gave up his secular employment as a grocer’s assistant and, being commended by his brethren, moved into full time preaching.
In June 1877 he married Miss Jeannie Liveston of Forfar and enjoyed 46 years of happy married life. Their first home was in Dalmellington, Ayrshire and in 1879 they moved to the town of Kilmarnock. In addition to his preaching work he became engaged in writing and printing. He set up the publishing house still known as John Ritchie Ltd and became a prolific author. His first publication was “The Young Watchman” in 1883. “The Sunday School Worker” followed in 1885, after which “The Little One’s Treasury” commenced in 1889. The first edition of the “The Believer’s Magazine” appeared in January 1891. Many other books came from his pen. “The Tabernacle” and “From Egypt to Canaan” are just two of those still in print.
John Ritchie continued his preaching and writing work until his home call in March 1930 after which J. Charlton Steen, another well known gospel preacher and teacher of the Scriptures who had assisted Mr Ritchie for 4 years, assumed the editorship. He was an able Bible teacher but had a short tenure as editor as he was called home in September 1931
The third editor was another gifted Bible teacher whose writings are still read. William Hoste was editor until 1938. Mr Hoste studied at Cambridge University under Handley Moule. His studies of the Word of God convinced him that such teachings as baptismal regeneration apostolic succession and episcopacy were not found in the Word of God. As a result he was baptised by immersion and received into assembly fellowship. He laboured in the UK and Europe.
After the death of William Hoste, Andrew Borland of Irvine, Scotland, served as editor until 1974. He taught English at Kilwinning Academy, a post that he held from his early days until his retirement. He was the author of a number of books and in great demand as a Bible teacher in Scotland and beyond.
From 1974 until 1998 the editorship carried on by a committee. Over these years J. Anderson, J.R. Baker, R. McPike, R. Rae, F.E. Stallan, K. Stapeley and T. Wilson all served for differing periods of time. Each of these brethren were competent teachers and preachers of the gospel who continued to maintain the high standards of the Magazine through days of great social change. The present editor is John Grant.
Tom Wilson, in the Magazine’s centenary copy (January 1991) wrote, “Perhaps the natural man would have concluded that the signs did not augur well for John Ritchie’s unpretentious paper. But God blessed it to many and through many. It was to pursue a straight course, eschewing both a populist approach and a sectarian bias. It was to encourage interest in the Lord’s work, including ministry for both young and mature in the faith and pay respect humble saints on their home call”. This is still the purpose of the Magazine. John Ritchie Ltd continues to flourish and the Magazine that they have produced for so many years seeks to stimulate interest in the Lord’s work and workers, and teach the changeless doctrines of Scripture.