Baptist catholicity

Why do I love Andrew Fuller and his circle of friends? There are many reasons. One of them is this: their profound sense of belonging to a catholic body. Lest some of you think I think they were Roman Catholics, that is definitely not what I am saying. What I am saying is this: through friendships with men like John Newton, John Berridge, Thomas Scott--all of them Anglicans--Thomas Chalmers and John Erskine--Scottish Presbyterians--the New divinity heirs of Edwards in New England--all of them Congregationalists--and even Hyper-Calvinists, like William Button and Arminian Baptists like Dan Taylor--these men had a balance in their Christian lives that is enviable. They knew they were Baptists and gloried in that heritage. They were Calvinistic and would not surrender these truths for the world. But their goal in life was not to make men and women Baptists or even Calvinists--it was to make them first of all Christians.

Honestly, it scares me today to see men building little fiefdoms based on secondary issues or even tertiary issues. And whose basic raison d'etre is not the great orthodox, catholic Faith. Oh that the biblical catholocity of Fuller and his friends might be more in evidence!

Addendum (written four hours later): I am a Baptist through and through (even closed communion). I am an unashamed Calvinist (certainly not hyper, nor committed to double predestination--here I follow the 1689). But I am first and foremost a follower of the Lamb. I want him, and his Father and Spirit, to be my all in all.

Addendum 2 (written a day or so later): That is why I am a Baptist, though. I am seeking to follow Jesus in all that he commanded (Matt 28:19-20). But I recognize and love brothers dearly who see things differently. For my position see John Sutcliff's preface to his 1789 edition of Jonathan Edwards; Humble Attempt. It cannot be said better than he says it there.