Historia ecclesiastica
The Weblog of Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin & friends

Audio from Andrew Fuller Conference 2015 Now Available

November 16th, 2015 Posted in Conferences, Persecution

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


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18 Key Events of Church History a la Haykin

November 3rd, 2015 Posted in Church History

By Michael Haykin

1. Conversion of Paul

2. Irenaeus defence of the Faith against Gnosticism (‎preserves OT as canonical)

3. Constantine and the edict of Milan (313)

4. Augustine’s baptism in 387 and his Confessions (399)

5. Patrick’s mission to Ireland 430-460 and the creation of the Celtic Church

5. Rise of Islam

6. Cyril and Methodius’ mission to the Slavic countries

7. 1054 schism between Rome and Orthodoxy

8. Luther and his 95 Theses (1517)

9. William Tyndale and his New Testament (1526)

10. Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan victory in the English Civil Wars (1640s and the 1650s)

‎11. Act of Toleration (1689)

12. Great Awakening (1740s-1750s)

13. The Formation of the Baptist Missionary Society (1792)

14. Intellectual work of Marx, Freud, Nietzsche

15. World War I 

16. The Fundamentalist- Modernist controversy (1920s-1930s)

17. The decision of Martyn Lloyd-Jones to go to Westminster Chapel (1938)

18. The Billy Graham 1959 NY Crusade. 

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5 Minutes in “Baptist” History

October 29th, 2015 Posted in Baptist Life & Thought, Podcast

By Dustin Bruce

If you are unfamiliar with Ligonier’s “5 Minutes in Church History” podcast, then I certainly recommend giving it a listen. Host, Dr. Stephen Nichols, does a fantastic job teaching church history in an engaging and accessible way. It’s the kind of podcast that appeals to a graduate student in theology or a faithful churchgoer interested in learning more about “our family history,” to borrow Dr. Nichols’ phrase.

There is one particular episode I would recommend for readers of the AFC blog. In an Episode released on August 5th, “Lon to Phil,” Dr. Nichols introducers listeners to two Baptist confessions of faith, the 1689 London Baptist Confession and the 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith.

Spend five minutes with Dr. Nichols as our Presbyterian brother tackles the question, “what do Baptists believe?”

Update: There were some challenges to the details of the episode, which Dr. Nichols addressed here.


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Andrew Gifford baptizes Mrs. Deschamps

October 27th, 2015 Posted in 18th Century, Baptist Life & Thought

By Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin

On June 19, 1748, the London Particular Baptist Andrew Gifford (1700–1784) noted the following in the minute book of his church:

A wonderful appearance of providence at baptism. Mrs. Deschamps had been long disabled from walking alone by a rheumatic gout, but sometimes after the Lord was pleased to call her by his grace, she told the writer this: She was convinced that baptism by immersion was both her duty and privilege. He endeavoured to evade it and dissuade her from it as not absolutely necessary to salvation, but, not…satisfied with his arguments, she, after some time, solemnly demanded it of him as a minister of Jesus. Upon this the church was consulted, and after solemn searching the Lord it was agreed that if she persisted in the demand, it should be complied with. To this the pastor, A.G., was forced to comply—with great reluctance, fear and trembling, lest it should be attended with any ill consequence. To this she said, “Don’t you be afraid, I am persuaded God will prevent any scandal…” Accordingly the ordinance was administered. Unable to walk, she was carried down into the water. She went out of the water well and rejoicing and triumphing in the Lord Jesus. Blessed be his name. …Sister Deschamps was so lame as to be carried down into the water. She went up out of it without the least help, rejoicing.


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Interview with Matthew Barrett and Michael Haykin on “Owen on the Christian Life”

October 23rd, 2015 Posted in Biblical Spirituality, Books, Puritans

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.

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Sammy Hoyle of Norland

October 22nd, 2015 Posted in 19th Century, Uncategorized

By Michael Haykin.

Sammy Hoyle (1800–1873) of Norland, an isolated village near Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was a Methodist lay preacher of the nineteenth century. Converted to Methodism from a life of gambling, he became a powerful lay preacher who was never afraid to speak his mind in the pulpit or out of it.[1]

On one occasion, a man in a local pub was heard to declare that “not a word in the Bible is true.” The publican sent for Sammy to reason with the man. When Sammy came into the pub, he went up to the man and immediately grabbed his nose and twisted it so violently that blood came spurting out. Sammy then quoted Proverbs 30:33 to the man, namely, “the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood.” “Nah then,” he said in his broad Yorkshire accent, “is that trew? Ay an t’rest on it is an’ all!”

In another version of this story, he used a pair of pliers to wring the man’s nose.[2] Needless to say, this is not a recommended method of apologetics!

P.S. I am indebted to Gervase Charmley for drawing my attention to the fearless Sammy Hoyle of Norland.

Michael A.G. Haykin
Professor of Church History
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


[1] See the account of his life in See David Whiteley, ed., Illustrious Local Preachers (Bradford: Thornton & Pearson, 1891), 254–262.

[2] See Whiteley, ed., Illustrious Local Preachers, 257.

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Book Review: Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past

October 12th, 2015 Posted in Biblical Spirituality, Books

By Dustin Bruce

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), 132 pp., $14.99.


Held In HonorHeld 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.[1]

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.[2]

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.


[1]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.

[2]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.

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Coming Soon: A Bitesize Biography of Samuel Pearce by Michael Haykin and Jerry Slate

September 21st, 2015 Posted in 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians, Missions


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Special Pre-Conference: Martyrdom in the Early Church

August 14th, 2015 Posted in Ancient Church: 2nd & 3rd Centuries, Church History, Conferences, Persecution

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.

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“In order that we too might be imitators of him”: The Death of Polycarp and the Imitation of Jesus

August 4th, 2015 Posted in Ancient Church: 2nd & 3rd Centuries, Biblical Spirituality, Church Fathers, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians, Historians, Persecution

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.


headerJoin 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.

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