Yesterday I was privileged to speak at the 125th anniversary of Cannington Baptist Church in Cannington, Ontario, roughly two hours’ drive from where I live. The congregation had gathered to celebrate God’s goodness, a worship service beautifully planned by deacon Ian Archibald. A group called “The Reflections” helped us worship in heart as they sang a number of traditional and contemporary songs. They were really excellent. And I was enabled to speak from Hebrews 13:7–8, a great text for arguing for the importance of history, a text I had already used in S. Ireland at the Cork Summer Bible Week. In preparing for the delivery of the Word today, I had looked over a history of the Church—prepared twenty-five years ago in 1987, the centennial of the church—in which the doctrines set forth in the Trust Deed were spelled out. It is a classic summary of Baptist convictions. Those who had a right to use the building for worship were to hold these beliefs:
The being and unity of God: the existence of three equal persons in the Godhead: the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, the total depravity of man: election according to the foreknowledge of God: the Divinity of Christ and the all sufficiency of His atonement; justification by faith alone in the righteousness of Christ; the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration; perseverance of the saints; the resurrection of the dead; the final judgement [sic]; the punishment of the wicked, and the blessedness of the righteous, both eternal; the immersion of believers in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit the only baptism; the Lord’s Supper, a privilege peculiar to baptised believers: A Church, a company of baptised believers, voluntarily associated and meeting in one place on the first day of the week for mutual edification and the maintenance and propagation of these doctrines, the Word of God a complete and infallible rule of faith and practise; the religious observance of the first day of the week; and the obligation of every intelligent creature to believe the record which God has given of His Son.
In this statement we see the influence of the fourth-century Trinitarian debates and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed of 381; the Augustinian emphasis on human depravity and the necessity of divine election; the Reformation watch-cry of solus Christus; the great Baptist distinctives of congregationalism, believer’s baptism and closed communion; Puritan sabbatarianism; the belief in the inspiration and infallibility of the Word of God—common to all ages of the Church—and lo and behold pure Fullerism in the final statement about “the obligation of every intelligent creature to believe the record which God has given of His Son.”
I did not expect to see Fuller’s signature in such a place, but there it was: good to see it! Fuller is such a good mentor, because he delighted in proclaiming the gospel to all and sundry.