Like many great men—one thinks, for example, of the big name this year, John Calvin—the name of Andrew Fuller has aroused—and still does arouse—deep feelings pro and con. Reading a new ms on Lemuel Haynes by Thabiti Anyabwile (which we hope to publish in the Reformation Heritage Books’ series on spirituality), I noticed one remark by Haynes in which he said that the “memory of a Patrick, a Beveridge, a Manton, a Flavel, a Watts, a Doddridge, an Edwards, Hopkins, Bellamy, Spencer and Fuller is precious to us.” And in a letter dated October 3, 1802, he told his correspondent Timothy Cooley, “I have this day finished reading a fourth volume of Mr. Fuller, an ingenious European writer. You have doubtless read his “letters to the Calvinists,”—“The Gospel its own Witness,”—“The Gospel a Faithful Saying,” and the “Backslider.” They are admired by the serious; and, I think, are worthy of a place in every minister’s library.”
Yet, a day or so before reading this I read a remark made by the unorthodox Welsh Baptist minister William Richards (1749–1818) that he had been “stigmatized with Fullerism (than which nothing this side [of] hell can be worse in the estimation of some good folks)” [The Writings of the Radical Welsh Baptist Minister William Richards (1749–1818) , selected and edited John Oddy (Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009), 64]. The charge was not true, but it gives a good insight into the way some viewed Fuller and his theology.
My sympathies are with brother Haynes!
By the way, look for Thabiti’s book, it is a rich feast from an Edwardsean African-American pastor.