Nathan Finn on Recent Trends in Andrew Fuller Studies

In recent days, Dr. Nathan Finn (Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina) has been blogging at Between the Times about recent trends in Andrew Fuller Studies. The first post covered the twentieth century, while the second post discussed significant writings from the past dozen years. The final post focused upon conferences, primary source reprints, forthcoming collections of essays, and the upcoming critical edition of the Works of Andrew Fuller (for which Dr. Haykin serves as General Editor). If you want to learn more about the growing interest in Andrew Fuller among scholars, pastors, and others, I’d encourage you to head over to Between the Times and read these posts.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin. Slightly modified from this post by Nathan Finn at his personal blog.

Pastoral Admonitions 200 Years Apart (Guest Post by Dustin Bruce)

I recently completed an assignment for Dr. Haykin that involved reading Andrew Fuller's ordination sermons. The exercise was both academically profitable and spiritually edifying. The following is an example of one of many nuggets gleaned from Fuller:

"Live the life of a Christian, as well as of a minister.—Read as one, preach as one, converse as one—to be profited, as well as to profit others. One of the  greatest temptations of a ministerial life is to handle Divine truth as ministers, rather than as Christians—for others, rather than for ourselves. But the word will not profit them that preach it, any more than it will them that hear it, unless it be “mixed with faith.” If we study the Scriptures as Christians, the more familiar we are with them, the more we shall feel their importance; but if our object be only to find out something to say to others, our familiarity with them will prove a snare. It will resemble that of soldiers, and doctors, and undertakers with death; the more familiar we are with them, the less we shall feel their importance. See Prov. 22:17, 18; Psal. 1:2, 3." Fuller, "Spiritual Knowledge and Love Necessary for the Ministry," Works I, 481

Fuller's exhortation to live the life of a Christian, not just a minister, planted firmly in my mind. Thus, days later, when reading Paul Tripp's new book, Dangerous Calling, I was struck by the similarity of the two messages. Tripp articulates:

"Ministry had become my identity. No, I didn't think of myself as a child of God, in daily need of grace, in the middle of my own sanctification, still in a battle with sin, still in need of the body of Christ, and called to pastoral ministry. No, I thought of myself as a pastor. That's it, bottom line. The office of pastor was more than a calling and a set of God-given gifts that had been recognized by the body of Christ. "Pastor" defined me. It was me in a way that proved to be more dangerous than I thought…My Faith had become a professional calling. It had become my job…It shaped the way I related to God. it formed the relationships with people in my life…So we (pastors) come to relationship with God and others being less than needy. And because we are less than needy, we are less than open to the ministry of others and the conviction of the Spirit. This sucks the life out of the private devotional aspect of our walk with God." Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p.22-23

Roughly 200 years passed between Fuller's sermon and Tripp's book, yet the problem addressed is much the same. Pastors are tempted to see themselves as pastors, as somehow less needy of God's grace. In light of this timeless problem, Fuller's admonition remains as pressing as ever. Pastors, "live the life of a Christian."

Dustin Bruce is originally from Monroeville, AL and is a graduate of Auburn University and SWBTS. He lives with his wife Whitney in Louisville where he is pursuing a ThM in Church History at SBTS. 

Politics and Christianity: oxymoronic?

I am a firm believer in the fact that Christians should be involved in the political realm. Not the Church per se, but individual believers. One of the reasons Christian shun this realm—though do they not often mightily complain about it?—is because of the stumbling-blocks in the whole sphere of politics. This is nothing new.

Here is a letter from the Welsh Baptist Benjamin Davies, the one-time Principal of Canada Baptist College in Montreal, writing from London, England, in the 1840s  to his good friend John Gilmour, the Scottish Baptist then resident in Canada, and who was such a force for good on the Canadian scene.

Davies has been complaining about the British political scene of his day—1845—and then he observes:

“Is it vain for us to expect honest and sterling principle in political men? It seems a desperate case, at least in the present day.”

Not much has changed in this regard, it seems. Oh, for politicians who truly love justice and right and righteousness—and not adulation and power.

Ian Clary on "Church History on the Ground"

Rivers of Living Water: Celebrating 125…Dr. Haykin recently collaborated with Ian Clary on a history of the 125-year-old Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario, “Rivers of Living Water”: Celebrating 125 Years of Hughson Street Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario, 1887-2012. Ian wrote about his experience working on this project and the value of local church histories here. Be sure to check out his suggestions for both beginning and professional historians, along with his plea to churches, seminaries and other Christian institutions to publish histories regularly.

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

 

Audio Now Online for "Andrew Fuller & His Friends" Conference

Audio has now been posted for this year's conference which was held in September. All audio is posted on the conference page here. Unfortunately, two of the lectures did not get recorded in Group B of the Parallel Sessions: Paul Brewster's and Jimmy Burchett's. All the rest 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.

Recommending Priscilla Wong on Anne Steele

In September of 2011, with the kind help of Rev. Malcolm Watts, I made the trek on a rainy Sunday from Salisbury, England, to the nearby village of Broughton, Hampshire. The latter is a village situated roughly mid-way between Salisbury and Winchester. I was looking for a house, a chapel, and a grave. All were associated with Anne Steele (1717–78), the daughter of William Steele, the pastor of the Calvinistic Baptist chapel in Broughton. We soon found the Baptist chapel in Broughton easily enough. Sadly, it has been closed. The house where she lived, known as “Grandfathers,” in Rookery Lane, was more difficult to find, but eventually it was located. Her grave took even longer, as it is to be found in the Anglican parish church—somewhat unusual as she was a Baptist. Anne was converted in 1732 and baptized the same year. She grew to be a woman of deep piety, genuine cheerfulness and blessed with a mind hungry for knowledge. She never married, although there were two proposals of marriage—one from none other than the Baptist pastor and hymn-writer Benjamin Beddome (1717–95). Anne, however, made a conscious choice to remain single.

Anne’s singleness gave her the time to devote herself to poetry and hymn-writing, a gift with which the Lord had richly blessed her. About ten years before her death, sixty-two of her hymns were published in a Baptist hymnal entitled A Collection of Hymns Adapted to Public Worship (1769), whose editors were John Ash and Caleb Evans. This hymnal gave her hymns a wide circulation throughout Baptist circles, and, in time, her hymns became as well known in Baptist circles and beyond as those of Isaac Watts, John Newton, or William Cowper. They played a part in revitalizing areas of the Calvinistic Baptist cause throughout England.

In the past few areas a number of studies of Steele have appeared, of which the latest is Priscilla Wong’s Anne Steele and her Spiritual Vision (Reformation Heritage Books, 2012). This is a slim volume, but it provides the interested reader with a great overview of some of the central spiritual themes of Anne’s hymns. Warmly recommended.

New Book on Heidelberg Catechism Celebrates 450th Anniversary

Next year (2013) marks the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism. This Protestant document was written in Heidelberg in 1563 on behalf of Frederick III, Elector Palatine and spread over the world when it was approved by the Synod of Dort in 1619. A new volume is being released next March to commemorate this important event in church history—Power of Faith: 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism, edited by Karla Apperloo-Boersma, Herman J. Selderhuis. See flyer from publisher the Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht here. In this 440 page hardcover book, respected specialists in their fields present how the Heidelberg Catechism spread and influenced culture, education and ecclesiastical life. In addition to the text, over 250 pictures illustrate the contributions making an attractive volume for display. This work will include the following contribution from Michael A. G. Haykin and Steve Weaver "To 'concenter with the most orthodox divines': Hercules Collins and his An Orthodox Catechism—a slice of the reception history of the Heidelberg Catechism."

Power of Faith is slated to be released in Dutch, English and German editions. You can preorder the English edition from Amazon.com (German edition).

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

A town motto and our culture's values

On a recent drive through the town of Orangeville, Ontario, I noticed the town’s motto on the town’s nameplate as you enter the environs of Orangeville: “Historic charm, dynamic future.” Due to its proximity to Toronto—Orangeville is located less than an hour’s drive northwest of the metropolis of Toronto—there is no doubt of the dynamism latent in the future of Orangeville: it is increasingly a place where families whose parents work in Toronto have chosen to make their homes. And even a casual saunter through the town reveals the historic charm of the older buildings. As I thought about the motto, though, it became increasingly apparent to me that both the adjectives and nouns chosen reflect North American cultural mores. Try reversing the adjectives like this: “Dynamic past, charming future” or “Dynamic history, futuristic charm.” The latter alternate mottos convey an entirely different message: a tremendous past, but a somewhat innocuous future, even somniferous! No: our culture is confident of having a dynamic future, one that is exciting and fast-paced and brimming with ever new discoveries to enhance our well-being. And the past: well, at its best, it is charming, like a cute teddy-bear or toy from yesteryear.

But as every historian worth his or her salt knows: the past is dynamic for it has shaped and ordered our present-day.

Book Review of 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope

Dr. Haykin has recently reviewed 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope by Michael Bryant. This book tells the story of former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant whose entire world was turned upside down in 28 seconds. Find this review and others here on our Book Review page.

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

Another New Book by Dr. Haykin: Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory: the Piety of Samuel and Sarah Pearce

Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory: the Piety of Samuel and Sarah Pearce (Joshua Press, 2012). Pearce was described by his friend Andrew Fuller as another Brainerd. He was one of the intimate circle of friends that included Fuller, John Sutcliff and William Carey. This book examines the piety of Samuel and his wife Sarah through their letters.

From the Publisher: Joshua Press

Classics of Reformed spirituality series

Series editor: Michael A.G. Haykin

Samuel Pearce, a young eighteenth-century English pastor, was described by his friend and biographer Andrew Fuller as “another Brainerd”—a referenceto the celebrated American missionary David Brainerd. Pastor of Cannon Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, England, during the tumultuous 1790s, and a close friend of pioneer missionary William Carey, Pearce played a key role in the early days of the Baptist Missionary Society. In the providence of God he died at just thirty-three, but in the eyes of many of his contemporaries, he seemed to have condensed a lifetime of holy and joyful ministry into a single decade.

His marriage to Sarah Hopkins was one of deep love and mutual respect, and she joined him in his passion for the salvation of sinners—both at home and abroad. Through excerpts from Samuel and Sarah’s letters and writings, we are given a window into their rich spiritual life and living piety.

SPECS

  • ISBN 978-1894400480
  • Binding Paperback
  • Page count 248 (i-xviii + 230)
  • Width 5.5"
  • Height 8.5"
  • Spine .625"
Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.