The basic question, "Where did Baptists come from and why?" has two camps that offer differing explanations: (1) the English Separatist camp produced the ministries of foundational Baptists, John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, thus takes credit for Baptist origins, and (2) the Anabaptist movement is the alternative camp, understanding either a direct connection via lineage back to the infamous Swiss Brethren or an indirect connection via Anabaptist teachings. Anabaptist ecclesiology is very much akin, if not in some ways identical, to modern Baptist ecclesiology.
In fact, the Baptist church, led by John Smyth and successively by Thomas Helwys, resembled both English Separatist and the Anabaptist ecclesiology with notable differences between both entities. When The Mystery of Iniquity is properly understood, as Helwys intended, the reader will grasp the logical reasons that the Baptist church in 1607 was akin to both the English Separatist and the Anabaptist and yet differed from both. In The Beginning of Baptist Ecclesiology, Marvin Jones give a fresh voice to Thomas Helwys's opinion that a Baptist church is a viable New Testament church, and provides further relevant material rationale for the conversation concerning Baptist origins.
The Love of God Holds Creation Together
Andrew Fuller's Theology of Virtue
by Ryan P. Hoselton
The English Baptist Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) is well-known today for his nuanced Evangelical answer to the “Modern Question” against hyper-Calvinism, founding and leading the Baptist Missionary Society, and his exemplary pastoral ministry. In his day, however, he was also esteemed as a formidable apologist for Christian orthodoxy, especially in the area of moral reasoning. Following in the footsteps of his theological mentor, Jonathan Edwards, Fuller labored to defend the moral goodness and salutary nature of Christian doctrine against the new moral philosophy of the Enlightenment. As optimism in the moral potential of human nature waxed, reliance on God for truth and virtue waned. Echoing a long tradition of classical theologians, Fuller wished to declare afresh that the love of God, as manifested in the gospel, furnished humankind’s only hope for virtue, excellence, and happiness. In this concise study, Hoselton looks to recover the importance of ethical reasoning in Fuller’s theology and ministry and reflect on its merit for today.