Top Seven Books that I Read in 2011

1. Tied for number one are John Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Alister Chapman, Godly Ambition: John Stott and the Evangelical Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Both of these books are “thick” history at its best: rich in detail, and conversant with the cultural, theological and ecclesial scenes. I find the lives of both Asbury and Stott, though quite different, deeply awe-inspiring. I was astonished at the way I resonated with the heart-beat of both, though I must stress that I have definite theological differences on the level of secondary issues.

2. Peter J. Morden, ‘Communion with Christ and his people’: The Spirituality of C.H. Spurgeon (Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2010). I find Spurgeon to be a perennial source of inspiration and delight. And this new study by the Tutor in Church History and Spirituality at Spurgeon’s College tells me of the hidden springs of why I find him to be so: here is the heart of Spurgeon’s ministry displayed in great detail.

3. Carolyn Weber, Surprised by Oxford. A Memoir (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011). I love to read biographies, collections of letters and memoirs. And this was a delight. I had not heard of Carolyn Weber before my good friend and research assistant Ian Clary alerted me to this book. It is the story of the conversion of a feminist literary scholar, who is a fellow Canadian, in one of my favorite cities in all the world. A truly charming read.

4. Then tied for number 4 place are two books by two of my favorite historians: John Lukacs, The Future of History (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2011), a short essay-style book on the future of a variety of things dealings with being an historian—vintage Lukacs. And then Gertrude Himmelfarb, The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England, from Cromwell to Churchill (New York/London: Encounter Books, 2011), also a monograph, on love for the Jewish people. In a very short, and masterly, compass she deals with this history from Cromwell’s Puritan interest in the Jews that culminated in the readmission of the Jews to England—they had been expelled en masse in the Middle Ages—down to Churchill’s philo-Zionism, something quite different from Cromwell’s affection. Also vintage history.

5. Daniel C. Goodwin, Into Deep Waters: Evangelical Spirituality and Maritime Calvinistic Baptist Ministers, 1790–1855 (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010). This is a tremendous study of an overlooked area of Baptist studies. I have spent much time studying the English Calvinistic Baptist scene and also, to some degree, that of the Southern Baptists in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But the Baptist world of the Maritimes is a third important area of Calvinistic Baptist impact that should not be overlooked. Very illuminating.

What are the 5 Best Theology Books You've Read?

Dr. Haykin has responded to a question submitted on this website's "Ask Me a Question" feature. The question was: "I was wondering if you would be willing to give me your picks for 5 of the best theology books you’ve read and recommend." Dr. Haykin responded with his list here. Feel free to interact with his list and share your own in the comment section for his post.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

What is the best book you read in 2011?

I was just asked this question by Matthew Barrett of Credo. It is an easy question to answer in some ways. Out of the multitude of books that I did read in 2011, one stands out head and shoulders above the others. It is John Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009). This is "thick" history at its best: rich in detail, conversant with the cultural, theological and ecclesial scene and deeply awe-inspiring. I was astonished at the way I resonated with the heart-beat of a man with whom I have serious theological differences on the level of secondary issues. A superb read.

Going to San Francisco, Grace Slick, and finding Somebody to love (Jesus Christ)

Was I forty years too late when I finally got to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, when my wife and I went out there to celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and attend the annual ETS conference a week or so ago? Well, the providence of God is never too late! Probably glad in some ways not to have gotten there at the height of those tumultuous years of the counter-culture (which is now mainstream!). It was fascinating to do San Francisco—including Haight-Ashbury, though to be honest, it was somewhat grungy. I guess I expected something like current-day Yorkville in Toronto, which I did do in the height of the sixties.

But experiencing Haight-Ashbury reminded me of the heartbeat/aching void of my generation, well summed up by the song popularized by San Francisco psychedelic rocker Grace Slick (though the song was actually written by her brother-in-law Darby Slick):

“When the truth is found to be lies And all the joy within you dies

“Don’t you want somebody to love Don’t you need somebody to love Wouldn’t you love somebody to love You better find somebody to love.”

A good part of the truths that the mainstream culture of the 1960s pushed were indeed lies, sure to dry up all of the wellsprings of joy. But the truths of my generation, the counter-culture, were not a deep enough corrective. Like the culture they were protesting against, they simply did not go deep enough. What an indictment on a generation that was rooted in interiority. But there was the need of a Guide to navigate the depths of the human heart. And hey: in Jesus, Lord and Christ, I found that Guide and that Somebody Grace Slick urged me to find to love--and His love has proven to be the Sweetest of Joys and the Truth!

A W Pink on John Gill

It has been a long time since I have read much of A.W. Pink [in fact, it has also been a while since I blogged--have been extremely busy with end-of-term stuff and preparing papers for ETS]. I read his study on the sovereignty of God years ago when I was a young Christian and then soon after Iain Murray's life of Pink. Recently, a student at Toronto Baptist Seminary loaned me A.W. Pink, Letters to a Young Pastor: Letters to Rev. R. Harbach, transcribed Janice Harbach (Grandville, Michigan: The Evangelism Committee of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church, 1993). In perusing it, I noticed this on John Gill (on page 15) in the midst of comments about building a library:

“You are wise to ‘weed out’ your books—it is an expensive matter to move around a large library! John Gill is a strong Calvinist, and generally speaking, particularly good on the Epistles [of Paul], though at times he is ‘hyper’-Calvinistic—losing the ‘balance’ on the human responsibility side. He came after the Puritans. The ‘Puritan era’ was, roughly, from 1580 to 1690… Go slow in adding to your library…”

New Audio Online

We have recently uploaded several new audio files to the website. These include both the audio from our recent conferences at SBTS and some occasional lectures by Dr. Haykin at various locations.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Audio page for the latest audio from Dr. Haykin.
Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

Michael Haykin on the Reformation

Over on the Credo magazine blog, Matthew Barrett recently enlisted Dr. Haykin to talk about the life and theology of Martin Luther in celebration of Reformation Day. In the first video Haykin explain how Martin Luther was converted, in the second video Haykin tells us how Luther came to post the 95 theses, in the third video Haykin tells the story of Luther’s famous “Here I Stand” speech at Worms, and in the fourth video Haykin addresses the contemporary question, “Is the Reformation Over?” Click here to access these videos.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

Adoniram Judson Bicentennial Volume

Click to enlarge. 2012 will mark the bicentennial of when Adoniram and Ann Judson set sail for India. Next Fall, B&H Academic is releasing a volume to commemorate this event titled Adoniram Judson: A Bicentennial Appreciation of the Pioneer American Missionary. Edited by Jason G. Duesing of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, this volume will feature contributions by scholars such as: Daniel L. Akin, Robert Caldwell, Jason G. Duesing, Keith Eitel, Candi Finch, Nathan A. Finn, Michael A. G. Haykin, Paige Patterson, and Gregory A. Wills.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

A Conference for Our Canadian Readers

Having just advertised a conference which the Andrew Fuller Center is sponsoring in Louisville, KY, I thought it might be an appropriate time to mention a conference of which I've come aware to be held in Mississaugua, ON on Saturday, November 12th.  This conference, sponsored by the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity, focuses on the important theme of Christ and Culture. Details about the conference are available here.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.