Drs. Michael Haykin and Matthew Barrett were recently interviewed by Dr. Fred Zaspel of Books at a Glance. Click here to listen or read a transcript of the interview, as they discuss the Puritans, John Owen, and the Christian life.
Recently, Pilgrim Radio interviewed Dr. Matthew Barrett and Dr. Michael Haykin on their newly released volume, Owen on the Christian Life: Living for the Glory of God in Christ. This work, part of Crossway's Theologians on the Christian Life series, explores how Owen's theology informed his deep piety in a way that proves instructive for Christians today.
Listen to this interview for more information on this exciting new release.
Held in Honor represents the combined efforts of AFC Fellow, Matthew Haste, and Southern Seminary professor, Robert Plummer, to provide an accessible treasure trove of biblical wisdom on marriage, as cultivated within the great history of the Christian church.
The book contains 50 devotionals inspired by sources from the Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and Puritan, Early Evangelical, and Modern era. Within each devotional one will find a brief introduction to a historical figure, an excerpt from that figure on marriage, and a devotional tying the passage to biblical truth. While these devotionals are brief, they are packed with biblical truth and historical insight.
Andrew Fuller makes an appearance with an excerpt from his discourse on the creation of woman in Genesis 2:18. Fuller is quoted at length,
Christianity is the only religion that conforms to the original design that confines men to one wife and that teaches them to treat her with propriety. Go among the enemies of the gospel, and you shall see the woman either reduced to abject slavery, or basely flattered for the vilest of purposes; but in Christian families you may see her treated with honour and respect; treated as a friend, as naturally an equal, a soother of man’s cares, a softener of his griefs, and a partner of his joys.
Haste and Plummer, commenting on the passage, note,
Atheists explain marriage as an accommodation of biological impulses to societal constraints. God tells us that marriage is (among other things) His good gift of companionship to humanity. As Andrew Fuller notes, when a society properly values women as created in the image of God and of equal worth with men, the human race flourishes.
The truths and examples found in this book will prove an encouragement to any couple. Get a copy for your nightstand, read it with your spouse, and ask the Lord to bless your efforts. This book is a powerful resource, distilling Christian reflection on marriage throughout the centuries that is sure to strengthen your twenty-first century union.
Andrew Fuller, Discourses in Genesis in The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society; 1845 repr., Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1988), 3:9–10.
Robert L. Plummer and Matthew D. Haste, Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past, (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2015), 99.
Dustin Bruce lives in Louisville, KY where he is pursuing a PhD in Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Seminary. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Southwestern Seminary. Dustin and his wife, Whitney, originally hail from Alabama. They have two daughters, Marlie and Bella.
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.
By Evan D. Burns
Throughout the works of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815), there is a predominant theme of love—love to God and love to man. In a sermon entitled, Nature and Importance of Christian Love, Fuller preached on his meditations from John 13:34-35. Before he delineated the nature of Christian love, he first discussed what it is not. He said:
- It is not mere good neighbourhood, or civility between man and man.
- It is not mere friendship.
- It is not mere respect on account of religion.
- It is not mere party attachment.
- It is not that excessive and mistaken attachment which shall lead us to idolize and flatter a minister, or to exempt each other from the exercise of faithful discipline.
- It is not mere benevolence itself.
So then, he asked, “What is Christian love?” And Fuller answered his own inquiry thus:
It is complacency in the Divine image.—It is a union of heart, like that of Ruth to her mother-in-law. Christian love is love for Christ’s sake. This last remark, I suppose, furnishes a clue for its being called “a new commandment.” The old commandment required benevolence, or love to our neighbour; but this is complacency in Christ’s image, or the love of Christians as such. And being introductory to the New Testament or gospel dispensation, under which the church should be composed of believers only, it is suited to it. Personal religion is now to be the bond of union. This was never so expressly required before. This is more than love to our neighbour, or benevolence; this is brotherly love, or complacency in each other as brethren in Christ, Rom. 12:10; Heb. 13:1. This is genuine charity, 1 Cor. 13.
Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher, vol. 1 (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 523.
Fuller, Complete Works, 1:523.
Part I of a review article of Peter J. Morden, The Life and Thought of Andrew Fuller (1754–1815) (Studies in Evangelical History and Thought; Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire: Paternoster, 2015), xxii+232 pages. In this year, the bicentennial of the death of the significant Baptist pastor-theologian Andrew Fuller, it is right and proper to have an academic biography of the English Evangelical leader. And this new work by the Vice-Principal of Spurgeon’s College nicely fits the bill. Having already written extensively on Fuller—see especially his Offering Christ to the World: Andrew Fuller (1754–1815) and the Revival of Eighteenth Century Particular Baptist life (2003)—Morden is well equipped to write this biographical study.
After a brief introductory chapter that sets out the current state of Fuller studies and lays bare Morden’s own Evangelical convictions, chapter 2 details Fuller’s early life in the context of the 18th-century Particular Baptist community of which he was a part. This is well-trodden ground, but Morden does well in establishing the larger historical context and then examining Fuller’s own narrative about his conversion. With regard to Fuller’s conversion and early Christian experience, scholars are dependent for their information upon some letters Fuller wrote between 1798 and 1815: two to a Scottish friend Charles Stuart, then one in 1809, and then finally two more at the close of his life to “an unnamed friend in Liverpool” (so Morden names the correspondent, page 33, n.122). The “unnamed friend in Liverpool” was actually Maria Hope, the sister of Samuel Hope (1760–1837), a well-known Liverpool banker and extremely wealthy. They both had links to the Baptist cause at Byrom Street, Liverpool, and he was a strong supporter of the Baptist Missionary Society. Morden stresses that Fuller’s narrative of his early life in these letters, which were written between thirty and forty-five years after the events they describe, reveal a man deeply shaped by the contours of 18th-century Evangelicalism.
Chapter 3 charts Fuller’s entry into pastoral ministry in the 1770s and his theological development during that decade and the one that followed, which saw the publication of his first major work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation (1785/1801). This book was the definitive response to the High Calvinism that dominated far too many Particular Baptist circles in the British Isles and that had been hegemonic in Fuller’s own Baptist experience up until his conversion. Making good use of various unpublished manuscripts, Morden delineates not only the argument of the book, but also why Fuller left behind this version of Calvinism, which Fuller later castigated as “false Calvinism.” The latter Morden locates in Fuller’s biblicism (almost definitely the major reason from Fuller’s own point of view), his reading of Puritan literature and especially that of his older contemporary Jonathan Edwards, and his friendship with like-minded pastor-theologians like John Ryland, Jr. and John Sutcliff of Olney. Again Morden stresses that by the time Fuller published his Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, the core tenets of 18th-century Evangelicalism, shared by men of widely-differing ecclesial convictions, were now his (p.67).
The shape of Fuller’s ministry at Kettering, where he moved in 1782, and the way Fuller answered various attacks on the theology of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation constitutes Chapter 4. Morden helpfully touches on some aspects of Fuller’s life hitherto rarely examined, such as Fuller as a man of prayer. What Fuller told Robert Fawkner at the latter’s ordination in 1787, he sought to make a reality in his own life: “Give yourself up to the word of God, and to prayer” (cited p.74). This chapter also breaks new ground in Morden’s analysis of Fuller’s tendency to depression between 1782 and 1792 (p.103–109). Normally I am chary of trying to psychologically analyze men and women of previous generations; we often have difficulty enough trying to figure out what people sitting across from us are thinking let alone people of the past, which, to quote L.P. Hartley, “is a foreign country.” But Morden skillfully draws upon Fuller’s unpublished diary to argue his case. And Fuller himself once observed of himself, “I was born in a flat [i.e. minor] key” (cited Andrew Gunton Fuller, Andrew Fuller [London, 1882], 79).
To be continued.
Michael A.G. Haykin Professor of Church History The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wolf-Dieter Hauschild and Volker Henning Drecoll, Pneumatologie in der Alten Kirche (Traditio Christiana, vol.12; Bern: Peter Lang, 2004), lx+372 pages. During the past century, it was sometimes said that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was the “Cinderella of theology,” given the way that it had been neglected by both systematicians and ecclesiastical historians. Well, if that were a truism for much of the twentieth century, it certainly is not now. Pneumatology has received an enormous amount of attention on both the popular and scholarly levels. Nevertheless, there are still significant areas where there are gaps in our knowledge. This reader by two well-known German patristic experts (Hauschild’s doctoral work was focused on pneumatology—his 1967 dissertation, Die Pneumatomachen, is a standard study of the Pneumatomachian controversy) fills in one of those lacunae: it is a substantial annotated compilation of all of the key sources in the patristic era that deal with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Divided into three major sections—“The Spirit and history: church and scripture,” “God and man: illumination, sanctification, and blessedness,” and “The Spirit and God: the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, God”—the various patristic sources are given in their original languages (Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac) with a corresponding German translation. It is good to find authors often ignored in patristic compilations, authors such as Aphrahat (c.280–c.345) and Macarius (fl. 380–410). A helpful introductory essay on patristic pneumatology provides a necessary orientation for this collection of sources. There is also a lengthy bibliography of secondary sources on all of the figures included in the volume. This is a tremendous resource, highly recommended for all serious students of the patristic doctrine of the Spirit; it would be especially helpful as a textbook in a doctoral seminar on pneumatology in the Ancient Church.
Michael A.G. Haykin Professor of Church History The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
By Evan D. Burns
Last Thursday many evangelicals remembered the bicentennial anniversary of the death of the great Baptist theologian, Andrew Fuller (1754-1815). Fuller’s theology and spirituality has affected me personally in numerous ways. Probably the first and most enduring influence of Fuller on my own piety has been his heavenly-mindedness.
A vision of heaven and the promised reward of being forever with the Lord captivated Andrew Fuller’s soul. From the sweetness of his heavenly meditations he penned the funeral sermon for Beeby Wallis at Kettering in April 1792. Wallis was a deacon of the Baptist church in Kettering. He served as the first treasurer of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). Fuller preached on “The Blessedness of the Dead Who Die in the Lord”. Though intending to eulogize and memorialize Wallis, Fuller spent the majority of his sermon expounding on biblical themes such as the need for Christian perseverance, the promise of rewards, heavenly rest, earthly labour, true blessedness, and the inevitability of death. Fuller sought to strengthen the hearts of his mourning hearers who had followed Christ even amidst affliction. He did this by elucidating the aforementioned themes, specifically the promises of heavenly rest and rewards.
Fuller’s chief text upon which he meditated for this sermon was Revelation 14:13, which says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Fuller began by stating the original telos of this passage: “The original design of the passage seems to have been to support the afflicted followers of Christ in times of persecution.” Yet, he said that though this passage was originally intended “to arm the holy martyrs against the terrors of death”, it does seem that it could be generally applied to Christians under other degrees of affliction as well.
First, he discussed the character of those “who die in the Lord”. They are necessarily united to Christ, as in a marriage union where two parties are united by mutual affection, common pursuits, and identical causes. So, death is the introduction of the believer’s full union with Christ. And being in this union, he described believers who die as abounding in good works just as a branch necessarily bears fruit since it is united to the vine. Second, Fuller said that part of the blessedness observed in this passage comes from the voice from heaven, which demonstrates that heaven values the saints’ homecoming whereas fallen man values worldly prosperity and security. Third, that John was commanded to write down this verse indicates the enduring blessedness of its promise for believers of all ensuing generations. Fourth, Fuller said that the phrase, “from henceforth,” refers to the time of their souls’ departure from the body in physical death. Fifth, two aspects of this post-death blessedness are rest from labours and the glorious reward of good works. And, it is in this fifth observation that Fuller expounded two predominant themes: rest from labour and rewards of grace.
Fuller designed this funeral sermon to encourage afflicted Christians to hope in future reward and to rejoice for those who have died and entered in to that eternal joy. Fuller carefully knit pastoral application with theological specificity, validating his preeminence as a pastor-theologian. He successfully demonstrated how rest from labour and reward for grace-empowered work are heavenly realities, which Christians should joyfully anticipate. In heaven, Christians will rest from all the labour they experience in this life in opposition to sin and the curse. But, their work will not cease; they will be perfected and supremely worshipful as they serve God with infinite gladness. Christians are saved not only from God’s just wrath but are also saved for eternal joy in God. Fuller longed for this heavenly rest in God, and even in his dying hours, he sought to experience the reward through prayer to God:
When under great anguish, he one day said to his son, “All misery is concentrated in me!”—“Bodily misery only, I suppose, father?”—“Yes: nothing else.” But the expression which he used to Mr. Blundell of Northampton, was the most characteristic of any of which I have been informed—“My hope is such that I am not afraid to plunge into eternity!” On the Lord’s-day morning on which he died, May 7, 1815, he said to his daughter Sarah, “I wish I had strength enough . . . She asked, “To do what?” He replied, “To worship, child.” Soon after, his daughter Mary entering the room, as soon as he understood who it was, he said “Come, Mary, come and help me.” He was then raised up in bed, and for the last half-hour appeared to be engaged in prayer. His children surrounded his bed, listening attentively, to catch, if possible, the last words of their dying parent: but nothing could be distinctly heard, but, “Help me!” Then, with his hands clasped, and his eyes fixed upwards, he sunk back and expired.
Andrew Fuller, The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller with a Memoir of His Life by Andrew Gunton Fuller, 3 vols., ed. J. Belcher (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1845; repr., Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1988), 1:152.
The Complete Works, 1:152.
John Ryland, The Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope, Illustrated; in the Life and Death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Late Pastor of the Baptist Church at Kettering, and Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society, from Its Commencement in 1792, Chiefly Extracted from His Own Papers, Extracted by John Ryland, D.D. (London: Button & Son, Paternoster Row, 1816), 550.
Evan Burns (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons. They are missionaries with Training Leaders International. He also works as the Director of the M.A. in Global Leadership program at Western Seminary.
30 Days of Devotions: From the Sermons of Andrew Fuller, ed. Joshua C. Breland (Wake Forest, NC: Evangelical Heritage Press, 2015), [iv]+57 pages. Recently doing some work on the fourth-century theologian Athanasius, I used a database to search for articles on him and came up with some 1400 separate items in a few seconds. I thought I would do a similar search for Andrew Fuller, my favorite theologian, and came up with considerably less: about sixty. All of this is to simply say that although a renaissance of Fuller studies is underway—to quote fellow Fuller scholar Nathan Finn—things are still very much in their infancy. Understandably, it was with great joy that I came across a reference to this new Fuller item by Joshua Breland, who is a grad student at our sister seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The title accurately reflects the book’s contents. The book is divided into a month of readings from the sermonic corpus of Fuller. Heading each selection is simply the number of the day, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on. There is no reading for the 31st day of such months as January, March, etc. At the end of each reading the sermon from which it is drawn is indicated by a reference to the sermon by Roman numeral. For example, the reading for the 10th day of the month comes from “Sermon XI.” To find out which sermon this is, one has to turn to the back of the book, where ninety-two of Fuller’s sermons are listed by title and biblical text upon which they are based. Curiously, though, there is no indication from which edition Breland has drawn his selections. It appears to be the three-volume Sprinkle edition (a 1988 reprint of an 1845 edition), which contains the exact same listing of sermons in the first volume.
As with any book of selections like this, there is a certain degree of personal eclecticism evident. Breland’s choices are not exactly the ones I would have chosen—and I am sure, the same would be true vice versa. What he has chosen, though, is a good cross-section of Fullerism: from reflections on the nature of justification (the reading for the 4th day of the month, p.5–7) to the vital necessity of love (the reading for the 10th day of the month, p.15–17). And as is typical with Fuller’s works, there is the Puritan characteristic of making pithy statements that continue to resonate in the reader’s mind long after he/she has put the book down. For example, at the very close of the reading for the 17th day, Fuller sums up what he has been saying thus: “The union of genuine orthodoxy and affection constitutes true religion” (p.28)—so true.
One thing I missed are footnotes to biblical texts cited and a footnote for the occasional personal reference. For instance, in the selection for the 25th day, Fuller refers to an observation by “dear Pearce” about the cross (p.42). He is, of course, referring to his close friend Samuel Pearce (1766–1799), whose memoirs he had written. But the reader new to Fuller would have no idea who he is talking about. The introduction is a brief, but adequate, introduction to Fuller and his ministry. Though, even a Fullerite as ardent as myself was surprised by the statement that Fuller was “perhaps the greatest model of a pastor-theologian the world has ever seen” (p.iii). These quibbles aside, I was thrilled to see this devotional from the sermons of a man from whom I have learned so much.
Michael A.G. Haykin Professor of Church History The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary