The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies is happy to co-host a conference on "The English Reformation and Its Legacy" with West Toronto Baptist Church. The conference will be held in
Plenary sessions from the 2015 Andrew Fuller Conference are now available for download at the links below. The conference was held September 15-16 and examined the theme of “Persecution and the Church.” Also available for download is the preconference which dealt with “Martyrdom in the Early Church: Reality and Fiction.” This pre-conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Christian Studies.
Breakout sessions from the main conference will be posted soon.
Session 1 - Jarvis Williams
Session 2 - Greg Cochran
Session 3 - Bryan Litfin
Session 4 - Panel Discussion
Session 1 - Tom Schreiner
Session 2 - Brian Vickers
Session 3 - Bryan Litfin
Session 4 - Jason Duesing
Session 5 - Steve Weaver
Session 6 - Nathan Finn
Session 7 - Benjamin Hegeman
Join us Monday, 14 September 2015, in Louisville, KY for a pre-conference co-sponsored with the Center for Ancient Christian Studies on “Martyrdom in the Early Church: Reality and Fiction.” The event is free to all students, faculty, and friends.
This event will precede our annual two-day conference that will be held on September 15-16, 2015 on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. To learn more and to register for the conference, click here.
By Shawn J. Wilhite and Coleman M. Ford
The Martyrdom of Polycarp offers an eyewitness account to the death and martyrdom of Polycarp from the church at Smyrna to the church at Philomelium (Mart.Pol. Pref.). As the narrative unfolds, some of the motifs that emerge relate to imitation. That is, the narrative of Polycarp’s death evoke the reader to imitate the death of Polycarp (Mart.Pol. 1:2).
This AD 2nd century event details three different martyrdom accounts. It praises the nobility of Germanicus, who fought with wild beasts and encouraged the “God-fearing race of Christians” through his death (Mart.Pol. 3:1–2). It discourages the concept of voluntary martyrdom as Quintus “turned coward” when he saw the wild beasts. Such voluntary pursuit of martyrdom does not evoke praise from fellow sisters and brothers because the “gospel does not teach this” (Mart.Pol. 4).
However, the narrative details the “blessed Polycarp” and his noble death (Mart.Pol. 1:1). These events are aimed to demonstrate how the “Lord might show us once again a martyrdom that is in accord with the Gospel” (Mart.Pol. 1:1). So, the narrative models for the reader a martyrdom that is worthy of imitation as it is patterned after “the Gospel.”
The Martyrdom account portrays Polycarp as a model of Christ’s life. For example, Polycarp waited to be passively betrayed (Mart.Pol. 1:2). The night before Polycarp’s betrayal, he is praying with a few close companions (Mart.Pol. 5:1). He prays “may your will be done” prior to his arrest (Mart.Pol. 7:1; cf. Matt 26:42). Furthermore, Polycarp is betrayed on a Friday (Mart.Pol. 7:1) and seated on a donkey to ride into town (Mart.Pol. 8:1)—similar to the “triumphal entry” and garden of Gethsemane events. On the verge of death, Polycarp offers up a final call to the Father (Mart.Pol. 14:3). While Polycarp is tied to the stake, an executioner is commanded to come stab Polycarp with a dagger (Mart.Pol. 16:1). Even the execution offers a similar to the confession of the centurion’s statement “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Mart.Pol. 16:2; Luke 23:47).
Not only do Polycarp and the surrounding events reflect a similar Gospel tradition, the villains in Polycarp’s story are re-cast in light of the passion villains. Polycarp is betrayed by someone close to him (Mart.Pol. 6:1). The captain of the police is called “Herod” (Mart.Pol. 6:2; 8:2; 17:2). The author(s) of the Martyrdom make sure to slow the narrative so that the reader makes the necessary connection to the Gospel accounts by saying, “who just happened to have the same name—Herod, as he was called” (Mart.Pol. 6:2). Moreover, those who betrayed Polycarp ought to “receive the same punishment as Judas” (Mart.Pol. 6:2). There is an army to capture Polycarp, similar to the Gethsemane scene (Mart.Pol. 7:1). The band of captors recognizes the piety of Polycarp in a similar way the group of soldiers bowed before arresting Him (Mart.Pol. 7:2; cf. John 18:6).
The Martyrdom narrative mimics the Gospel passion narratives. Whether it focuses on the personal character traits of Polycarp, the narrative of Polycarp’s journey to death, the secondary, seemingly accidental themes, or even the story’s villains, the Martyrdom of Polycarp is reshaped around gospel tradition.
As the narrative of the death of Polycarp unfolds, Polycarp’s character mimics the Lord so “that we too might be imitators of him” (Mart.Pol. 1:2). The blessed and noble characters of martyrdom are modeled after the narrative of Jesus tradition so as to invite readers to imitate Polycarp as he is imitating the Lord Jesus (Mart.Pol. 19:1).
Those in the early church saw patterns to imitate in the life of Jesus in regards to how to conduct oneself in the wake of impending martyrdom. Today, many Christians are faced with how to imitate those patterns as well. Both in America where persecution comes in word and thought, and in places like Syria where martyrdom is a real and present danger, reading Polycarp and other early Christian martyr stories empowers believers to follow the ultimate pattern which is Christ.
Join us on September 15-16, 2015 on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for this conference on Persecution and the Church in order to learn from examples from church history and around the globe that will encourage believers today to face persecution.
We are pleased to announce the conference theme for this year's conference is Persecution and the Church. We believe this is a timely topic as the church is experiencing persecution globally. The topic will be approached from biblical, theological, and historical perspectives. The conference will be held on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on September 15-16, 2015.
From the conference website:
Jesus Christ plainly told all who followed him as their Lord and Savior that they would suffer persecution—and in the history of the church over the past two thousand years this has undoubtedly been the case. There is clear evidence that along with the globalization of Christianity over the past two hundred years, the persecution of the church has likewise intensified.
In this timely conference, we will be looking at this history of persecution and its contemporary manifestations from a biblical and theological standpoint. The goal of the conference is to enable participants to be both more informed and more prayerful. To that end, this conference will conclude with a concert of prayer for the persecuted church.
- Jason G. Duesing (Professor of Church History and Academic Provost at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
- Nathan A. Finn (Dean of the School of Theology and Missions and Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition at Union University)
- Ben Hegeman (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies at Houghton College)
- Bryan M. Litfin (Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago)
- Thomas R. Schreiner (Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Biblical Theology and Associate Dean of the Southern Seminary School of Theology)
- Brian Vickers (Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Biblical Theology at Southern Seminary)
- Steve Weaver (Senior Fellow of Andrew Fuller Center and Adjunct Professor of Church History at Southern Seminary)
Tuesday, September 15
|11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.||Conference Check-In|
|1:30 p.m.||General Session I: Brian Vickers “Persecution and Paul”|
|3 p.m.||General Session II: Tom Schreiner “Persecution in Revelation”|
|7 p.m.||General Session III: Bryan Litfin “Roman Persecution of the Ancient Church”|
|8:30 p.m.||General Session IV: Jason Duesing “The Persecution of the Anabaptists”|
Wednesday, September 16
|8 a.m.||Breakfast (Optional $5 add-on)|
|9 a.m.||General Session V: Steve Weaver “Baptists and Persecution in Virginia”|
|10:30 a.m.||General Session VI: Nathan Finn “Communist Persecution of the Church, 1917-1989″|
|2:30 p.m.||Short Papers|
|7 p.m.||General Session VII: Ben Hegeman “The Church and Islam”|
|8:15 p.m.||General Session VIII “A Concert of Prayer for the Persectued Church”|
You can learn more about the conference and register here. We hope to see you there!
Christians Under Attack: Struggles and Persecution Throughout the World (Miami, FL: Mango Press with The Associated Press, 2015). After reading the stories and accounts in this recent journalistic overview of persecution, there seems little doubt that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today. Ranging from Lebanon to China, Nigeria to Pakistan, it is a story of atrocity after atrocity perpetrated against professing Christians: from Muslim drive-by killings of Christians at weddings in Cairo and northeast Nigeria to suicide bombers killing worshipers in Pakistani churches. In many parts of the Middle East, ancient Christian communities are being annihilated (see also the recent article, “The Plight of the Christians”, The Wall Street Journal, (Saturday/Sunday, May 16–17, 2015), C1–2).
All of the accounts are recent ones by AP journalists. Replete with numerous color pictures, this is a difficult book to read, but it is also vital for those of us in the West who are seeking to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Here we are reminded of the cost of discipleship and that there are some things more precious than life itself, namely commitment to the Triune God. There are some accounts here with happy endings in this world (e.g., the freeing of Meriam Ibrahim, p.123), but most await the justice of the world to come. There are also some disturbing accounts of Christian retaliation. For example, in the Central African Republic professing Christians have been involved in massacring Muslims, after Muslim rebels killed hundreds of Christians (p.83–91). Reading this account of the religious violence in the Central African Republic reminded me of the horrors of the French religious wars in the late sixteenth century.
A quote from an Iraqi Christian housewife, Sahira Hakim, at the very beginning of the book opposite the table of contents, though, helps set this matter of persecution in context: “We Christians are like roses. If you remove them from a garden, it will not be beautiful anymore.” Yes, indeed! True Christianity is a thing of beauty; remove it from a society and culture, and there will eventually be a deadly wasteland.
The gravity of this subject has prompted The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies to take for its conference theme this coming September 15–16, 2015, the matter of persecution in the history of the Church. Do join us as we reflect about this subject from both biblical and historical vantage-points, and spend time in prayer for the persecuted church. There is also a pre-conference round-table discussion on “Martyrdom in the Ancient Church: reality and fiction” on Monday evening, September 14, which will be co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Christian Studies. A 3-hour credit hybrid course attached to the conference with classes during the day on Monday, September 14, is also being offered.
Michael A.G. Haykin Professor of Church History The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
On February 6, 2015, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies hosted a mini-conference to consider the legacy of Andrew Fuller. 2015 marks the bicentennial of Fuller's death so it was appropriate The Andrew Fuller Center devote some time to assessing his legacy. As an added bonus, the conference date of February 6th was the 261st birthday of Fuller. The conference was hosted on the third floor of the Legacy Hotel on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We are pleased to make available the audio from the conference free of charge below.
“Why Andrew Fuller?” (MP3) a brief intro to the conference by Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin (Professor of Church History and Director of AFCBS at SBTS)
“Fuller and the 19th Century Southern Baptists” (MP3) by Dr. Gregory A. Wills (Professor of Church History and Dean of School of Theology at SBTS)
“C.H. Spurgeon: a Fullerite?” (MP3) by Dr. G. Stephen Weaver, Jr. (Research Assistant and Fellow of AFCBS)
Theme: Biblical Interpretation through the CenturiesLocation: Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto ON Date: March 21, 2015 Plenary Speaker: Dr. Stephen Westerholm (Professor, Religious Studies, McMaster University)
All full members of ETS and student members enrolled in Ph.D. programs are invited to submit paper proposals on this year’s theme. Quality papers on topics not directly related to the theme are also welcome.
All paper proposals should include a title and abstract (300 words), and the presenter’s name and institutional affiliation. Student proposals should include a letter of endorsement from a professor. Please submit paper proposals to David Robinson: email@example.com.
An acceptable paper should be delivered in 25‐30 minutes, with 5‐10 minutes for discussion.
The submission deadline for proposals is 28 February 2015.
David Robinson ETS Ontario/Quebec Program Chairman firstname.lastname@example.org 416-466-8819, ext.302
Downloadable Flyer (PDF)
By Steve Weaver
In a few weeks, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies will host a mini-conference that will consider the legacy of Andrew Fuller. 2015 marks the bicentennial of Fuller's death so it is appropriate The Andrew Fuller Center devote some time to assessing his legacy. As an added bonus, the conference date of February 6th is the 261st birthday of Fuller. The conference will be hosted on the third floor of the Legacy Hotel on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference is open to all students, faculty, and staff of the seminary and Boyce College.
9:00 – 9:20am – “Why Andrew Fuller?” with Michael A.G. Haykin
9:30 – 10:30am – “Fuller and the 19th Century Southern Baptists” with Greg Wills
11am – 12pm – “C.H. Spurgeon: a Fullerite?” with Steve Weaver
Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and a fellow of the Center. He also serves as senior pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY. Steve and his wife Gretta have six children between the ages of 3 and 15. You can read more from Steve at his personal website: Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian.
By Ian Hugh Clary
On November 15, 2014, West Toronto Baptist Church was happy to join in on international Whitefield celebrations. This year marks the tercentenary of Whitefield's birth, and it was the church’s privilege to co-host a conference with the Andrew Fuller Center over the course of a Saturday morning. Michael Haykin was the special speaker, while I preached a sermon by the Grand Itinerant on Sunday morning.
Below you can find Dr. Haykin’s two lectures and the sermon I preached.
Lecture 1 – Background to the Great Awakening (Michael Haykin)
Lecture 2 – George Whitefield’s Life (Michael Haykin)
Sermon – “The Marks of True Conversion: Matthew 18:3” (Ian Clary)
Ian Hugh Clary is finishing doctoral studies under Adriaan Neele at Universiteit van die Vrystaat (Blomfontein), where he is writing a dissertation on the evangelical historiography of Arnold Dallimore. He has co-authored two local church histories with Michael Haykin and contributed articles to numerous scholarly journals. Ian lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.