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

Book Review: George V and George VI

January 26th, 2015 Posted in 20th Century, Books

By Michael A.G. Haykin

David Cannadine, George V: The Unexpected King (London: Allen Lane, 2014), xiv+121 pages; and Philip Ziegler, George VI: The Dutiful King (London: Allen Lane, 2014), viii+94 pages.

George VThese two brief biographies are two of the first offerings in a new series being published by British publishing giant Penguin Books, “Penguin Monarchs.” The series will cover all of the English monarchs from William the Conqueror (including, interestingly enough, Oliver Cromwell, though neither the Empress Matilda nor Lady Jane Grey) and four Anglo-Saxon kings (though not Alfred). The series will take four years to complete and the biographies will be released in groups of five (the others released with these two are Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Charles I). Reading these two biographies back to back—their reigns covered the years 1910 to 1952—one clearly sees the way these two men, father and son, were critical to the adaptation of the British monarchy to the vicissitudes and democratization of the twentieth century.

George VINeither expected to be king—George V’s older brother Eddy died in 1892 at 28 and George VI’s older brother Edward VIII abdicated after less than a year as king—and thus both had challenges when they came to the throne. In George V’s case it was a lack of proper preparation to be monarch; in his son’s case, George wrestled with a painful stammer that made public speaking agony for him and a genuine loathing of being in the limelight. And in both cases, they faced major challenges, in particular global wars: George V was king during World War I and his son was monarch during World War II. Neither biography glosses over their faults and weaknesses—George V’s failure as a father to George VI, for example, is duly noted as is George VI’s lack of charisma—but both men were successful kings. A key word that comes through in both of biographies is “duty.” Both monarchs knew what was expected of them and they did their duty.

Both men were also practicing Anglicans—though neither biographer makes much of this fact (though, see Cannadine’s reference to George V’s “understated Anglicanism,” page 105). Ziegler’s conclusion to his biography of George VI is especially moving: “He was high-principled, sober, loyal, reliable, honourable, extraordinary in his ordinariness. …He was a good king; more important than that, he was a good man” (page 83).

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

To download the review as PDF, click here. To see other book reviews, visit here.

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James Davis Knowles on the character of Andrew Fuller

January 23rd, 2015 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Eminent Christians

By Michael A.G. Haykin

James Davis Knowles (1798–1838) was converted under the ministry of John Gano around the age of twenty-one and subsequently became a member of First Baptist Church, Providence, RI. A gift for preaching was evident and he was encouraged to study for the ministry. After pastoring for a number of years, he was appointed Professor of Pastoral Duties and Sacred Rhetoric at the Newton Theological Institution (today part of Andover Newton Theological Seminary). Here he found time to write a memoir of Roger Williams, having already tried his hand at a biography of Ann Judson. The same year that his memoir of Williams appeared, he also wrote an extensive study on the “Character of Andrew Fuller” (The American Quarterly Observer, 2 [1834], 110–127), which was prompted by the publication of a two-volume edition of Fuller’s works by the Boston Baptist publishers Ensign Lincoln (1779–1832) and Thomas Edmands (1781–1851).

Knowles observed that though his “education was small,” yet “the works of Fuller are justly entitled to rank with those of Owen and Edwards” (pages 115, 113). One of the reasons for this was, as Knowles asserted, the fact that “few theological writers have equaled him in plain, direct, robust force of understanding” (page 119). Another reason, in Knowles’ estimation, was Fuller’s “originality and vivacity of mind.” Yet, he was also a man marked by “an humble submission to the authority of Scripture” (page 120). And it is the latter, Knowles rightly believed, that made “Fuller a safe and valuable guide” in Christian theology (page 123). Finally, Knowles mentioned Fuller’s piety as a reason for the value of his books: his love for God and humanity “made him a reformer, without dogmatism, and a controversialist, without asperity” (page 126). It is a shame that Knowles did not live to write a full biography of Fuller—he died of smallpox in 1838.


Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

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New Book: Baptists and War: Essays on Baptists and Military Conflict 1640s-1990s

January 20th, 2015 Posted in Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Church History

Baptists and WarComing soon from Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, a collection of essay on Baptists and War. These papers, which were originally delivered at the 2011 annual conference of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, were compiled by Gordon L. Heath and Michael A.G. Haykin.

From the back cover:

While Baptists through the years have been certain that “war is hell,” they have not always been able to agree on how to respond to it. This book traces much of this troubled relationship from the days of Baptist origins with close ties to pacifist Anabaptists to the response to Baptists in America to the War in Vietnam. Essays include discussions of the English Baptist Andrew Fuller’s response to the threat of Napoleon, how Baptists in America dealt with the war of 1812, the support of Canadian Baptists for Britain’s war in Sudan and Abyssinia in the 1880s, the decisive effect of the First World War on Canada’s T. T. Shields, the response of Australian Baptists to the Second World War, and how Russian Baptists dealt with the Cold War. These chapters provide important analyses of Baptist reactions to one of society’s most intractable problems.

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Book Review: The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo by Brendan Simms

January 19th, 2015 Posted in Books, Historians

By Michael A.G. Haykin

Brendan Simms, The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo (London: Allen Lane, 2014), xx+127 pages.


The Napoleonic Wars, a global conflagaration, came to an end at the climactic Battle of Waterloo (Sunday, June 18, 1815), when some 140,000 men under the commands of Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley (1769–1852), the 1st Duke of Wellington and a relative of John and Charles Wesley, clashed and decided the future of Europe. There have, of course, been no end of books about the Napeolonic Wars and the Battle of Waterloo, but now a new book by Brendan Simms, Professor of the History of European International Relations at the University of Cambridge, looks at a key aspect of the battle—from Simms’ point of view, the key aspect—the defence of the farmhouse and orchard of La Haye Sainte by the King’s German Legion, an elite Anglo-German unit, established in 1803 of mostly Hanoverians (recall that the monarch of England, George III, was also the Elector of Hanover). Some of its officers were British and commands were usually given in English. In fact, their uniform was that of the distinctive green jackets of the British light infantry.

Simms gives an almost minute-by-minute account of the way a little less than 400 riflemen of this elite unit under the command of Major George Baring held up the advance of the most formidable army in Europe—nearly all of them veterans from former battles and wars of Napoleon—for the entire afternoon of June 18. It is a remarkable story, one that Simms tells well in a book that is hard to put down. Simms notes that there were ideological factors that enabled these men to stand at their post in the face of overwhelming odds, especially their determination to fight “French tyranny.” It is interesting that the recent terrorist attacks in France have evoked from some in high quarters the statement that the French response not to be cowed by Muslim fundamentalists is in line with France being a home of democracy—an obvious reference to the French Revolution. That is certainly not the way anyone in Europe viewed France in the wake of the sanguinary events of the French Revolution. It was not democracy but the tyranny of Napoleon that emerged from the revolutionary fervor of the 1790s. When Napoleon’s war machine had overrun Hanover, these brave men were determined to do something for the cause of their homeland’s liberty and thus the King’s German Legion was formed. In the final analysis, Simms reckons that it was a a sense of “honor” and trust in their officers that were the main determinants in the courage of these 400 men.

When the remnant of the King’s German Legion finally had to relinquish control of the farmhouse in the early hours of the evening—Baring refused to throw away his men’s lives needlessly—Napoleon had no time to capitalize on his taking the farmhouse, for Wellington’s Prussian allies under the command of Field Marshall Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819) arrived and helped save the day. As Wellington said after the battle to a civilian who interviewed him, the battle was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.” Indeed, without the 400 at La Haye Sainte there might have been no victory and subsequent European history would have been quite different with no century of peace to be shattered by World War I. On such relatively “small” events does the large wheel of history sometimes turn.

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

To download the review as PDF, click here. To see other book reviews, visit here.


Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

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Coming September 2015: Owen on the Christian Life by Matthew Barrett & Michael A.G. Haykin

January 19th, 2015 Posted in 17th Century, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians

Coming in September 2015 from Crossway. By Matthew Barrett and Michael A.G. Haykin: Owen on the Christian Life.

Owen on the Christian Life

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Call for Papers for ETS Ontario/Quebec

January 17th, 2015 Posted in Conferences

Theme: Biblical Interpretation through the Centuries
Location: 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: david.robinson@westminsterchapel.ca.

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
416-466-8819, ext.302

Downloadable Flyer (PDF)

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Choose A Faculty: A Conversation with Dr. Michael Haykin

January 17th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized

#ChooseAFaculty: A Conversation with Dr. Michael Haykin from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

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Mini-Conference: “The Legacy of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)”

January 14th, 2015 Posted in Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians

By Steve Weaver

Fuller Legacy Mini-Conference

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.

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“Duties Derived from Doctrine”

January 8th, 2015 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

In a sermon entitled, “The Future Perfection of the Church,” Andrew Fuller unpacked his meditations on Ephesians 5:25-27

Christ—loved the church, and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.[1]

The very first sentence of his sermon is a perceptive statement about the relationship between apostolic doctrine and apostolic instruction, particularly in this case, as it relates to Christian marriage.  Fuller observed that moral imperatives are always rooted in and grow out of redemptive indicatives.  Here is part of his introduction:

It is a distinguishing feature in the apostolic writings, that motives to the most ordinary duties are derived from the doctrine of the cross.  Who but an apostle would have thought of enforcing affection in a husband to a wife from the love of Christ to his church?  We are, undoubtedly, hereby taught to act, in the common affairs of life, from Christian principle; and I am inclined to think that our personal Christianity is more manifest in this way than in any other.  It is not by a holiness put on on religious occasions, as we put on our Lord’s-day dress, that we shall prove ourselves to be Christians; but by that which is habitual, and which, without our so much as designing it, will spontaneously appear in our language and behaviour. If the apostle’s heart had not been full of Christ, he would have thought of other motives than this; but this, being uppermost, presented itself on all occasions. We may be thankful that it was so on this, especially; for we are hereby furnished with a most interesting and affecting view of the salvation of sinners—a salvation originating in the love of Christ, and terminating in their being presented to him without spot, and blameless.[2]

[1]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 243.

[2]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 243-44.

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“Let Your Time Be Spent On Him”: A Christmas Sermon by George Whitefield

December 18th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

In a Christmas sermon on Matthew 1:21, called “The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of all Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas,” George Whitefield (1714-1770) provided some suggestions “for the true keeping of that time of Christmas.”  He advised spending time reading, praying, and in religious conversation:

What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose, than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read, that the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent.  This, this is an history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about:  and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us to prayer, that we might have an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ; that the blood which he spilt upon mount Calvary, and his death and crucifixion, might make an atonement for our sins, that we might be made holy; that we might be enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, even the Lord Jesus Christ; that we may throw away the heavy yoke of sin, and put on the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, my brethren, these things call for prayer, and for earnest prayer too; and O do be earnest with God, that you may have an interest in this Redeemer, and that you may put on his righteousness, so that you may not come before him in your filthy rags, nor be found not having on the wedding garment.  O do not, I beseech you, trust unto yourselves for justification; you cannot, indeed, you cannot be justified by the works of the law.  I entreat that your time may be thus spent; and if you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth:  let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love:  O tell, tell to each other, what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another, how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay, and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ; there, my brethren, is no slipping; other conversation, by often repeating, you become fully acquainted with, but of Christ there is always something new to raise your thoughts; you can never want matter when the love of the Lord Jesus Chris is the subject:  then let Jesus be the subject, my brethren, of all your conversation.

Let your time be spent on him:  O this, this is an employ, which if you belong to Jesus, will last you to all eternity.  Let others enjoy their cards, their dice, and gaming hours; do you, my brethren, let your time be spent in reading, praying, and religious conversations.  Which will stand the trial best at the last day?  Which do you think will bring most comfort, most peace, in a dying hour?  O live and spend your time now, as you will wish to have done, when you come to die.


Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, 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.

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