Admired by the serious, or, nothing worse this side of hell?

Like many great men—one thinks, for example, of the big name this year, John Calvin—the name of Andrew Fuller has aroused—and still does arouse—deep feelings pro and con. Reading a new ms on Lemuel Haynes by Thabiti Anyabwile (which we hope to publish in the Reformation Heritage Books’ series on spirituality), I noticed one remark by Haynes in which he said that the “memory of a Patrick, a Beveridge, a Manton, a Flavel, a Watts, a Doddridge, an Edwards, Hopkins, Bellamy, Spencer and Fuller is precious to us.” And in a letter dated October 3, 1802, he told his correspondent Timothy Cooley, “I have this day finished reading a fourth volume of Mr. Fuller, an ingenious European writer. You have doubtless read his “letters to the Calvinists,”—“The Gospel its own Witness,”—“The Gospel a Faithful Saying,” and the “Backslider.” They are admired by the serious; and, I think, are worthy of a place in every minister’s library.”

Yet, a day or so before reading this I read a remark made by the unorthodox Welsh Baptist minister William Richards (1749–1818) that he had been “stigmatized with Fullerism (than which nothing this side [of] hell can be worse in the estimation of some good folks)” [The Writings of the Radical Welsh Baptist Minister William Richards (1749–1818) , selected and edited John Oddy (Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009), 64]. The charge was not true, but it gives a good insight into the way some viewed Fuller and his theology.

My sympathies are with brother Haynes!

By the way, look for Thabiti’s book, it is a rich feast from an Edwardsean African-American pastor.