Archive for October, 2008

“Love for the Brothers”: A Message by Dr. Michael Haykin

October 30th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Today in chapel at SBTS, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin preached from 1 John 3:11-24 on the theme of “Love for the Brothers.”  It was an excellent and challenging message that features faithful exposition of the text elucidated by fascinating accounts from the history of the church.  In this message, Dr. Haykin argues that “love for the brothers” (along with the preaching of the Word, the administration of the ordinances, and church discipline) constitutes a clearly biblical mark of the church.  To hear the message or to download the MP3 click here.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

New Audio Posted

October 27th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Over the last week or so I’ve posted three new MP3s on this site’s Audio page.  The MP3s are of lectures given by Dr. Michael Haykin at a variety of venues.  These include a lecture on William Tyndale given on behalf of Southern Seminary’s Bible Translators in Training student society.  Another lecture on spiritual disciplines for pastors was given at a recent meeting of the Toronto Pastor’s Fellowship.   A final new posting is actually the posting of a lecture from last year’s conference on Islam held by Sola Scriptura Ministries.  Dr. Haykin’s session covers the historical background of Islam.

For more audio by Dr. Haykin visit the Audio page where new MP3s are posted regularly.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

Fabulous discovery about Thomas Wilcox (1622-1687), author of a minor spiritual classic

October 24th, 2008 Posted in 17th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Puritans

“Praying will make thee leave sinning or sinning will make leave praying.” [1] This well-known saying may well have originated with Thomas Wilcox (1622-1687), the author of the minor spiritual classic A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ, which was published before the Great Fire of London in 1666. When I first wrote my Kiffin, Knollys, and Keach in the early 1990s, I included this spiritual classic as an appendix. It was excluded by the publisher, which was providential, for although I knew Wilcox wrote a number of tracts, I thought the above book was the only one extant.

Today, my assistant Steve Weaver kindly got for me a PDF of a 1699 edition of Wilcox’s classic work (published then under the title of A Guide to Eternal Glory). It was attached to nine other tracts (the whole being published by Nathanael Crouch, who was a printer near Cheapside, London) and in the preface “To the Christian Reader” that preceded all of the tracts, Wilcox noted that he had “subjoined some other brief tracts” (p.6), which definitely seems to indicate he is the author, especially since no other names appear with the various tracts. [2] This is a fabulous discovery because it gives us some other material by the author of a remarkable tract that by the 1840s had gone through at least sixty printings and had been translated into numerous languages, including Welsh, Irish Gaelic, French, German, and Finnish. In light of such a printing record, it is no exaggeration to describe it as a minor classic from the late Puritan era. [3] It is currently available from Chapel Library. The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies hopes to include a fresh edition and textual commentary on it by Dr Stephen Yuille in its Occasional Monographs series, which is to be launched in the near future.

Of the numerous Calvinistic Baptist authors of the seventeenth century, there were really only three who were being read extensively a century or two later. John Bunyan was, of course, one. Another was Benjamin Keach. And the third was Thomas Wilcox, about whom we really know very little. [4] We know that he was born in 1622 at Lyndon, then in Rutland. His early career, though, is shrouded in obscurity. By the 1660s he was living in London on Cannon Street, where a congregation of believers that he pastored met regularly in his home to worship the Lord. During the following decade Wilcox preached to this congregation at the Three Cranes, a wooden building on Tooley Street in Southwark.

Though a convinced Baptist, Wilcox was catholic enough in his sentiments to be invited frequently to preach among the Presbyterians and Congregationalists. He also courageously endured imprisonment a number of times rather than sacrifice his convictions as a Dissenter. He hoped, we are told, that his death might be a sudden one, a hope that was apparently realized when he died in May, 1687. The epitaph on his tomb in Bunhill Fields, the Nonconformist burial ground in London, was a remark that he often made in this regard, “Sudden death sudden glory.” After his death the members of his congregation appear to have joined other Calvinistic Baptist causes in the city.

Do look for Stephen Yuille’s edition of A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ in our monograph series. The work is based on a phrase from Psalm 81:16 [“He should have fed them also with the finest of wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee” (KJV)], and it well captures the Christ-centred piety of the early Calvinistic Baptists and the way in which their piety was nourished by those central themes of the Reformation, solus Christus and sola fide.

[1] The Serephick [sic] Soul’s Triumph in the Love of God in Thomas Wilcox, A Guide to Eternal Glory. Or, Brief Directions to all Christians how to attain Everlasting Salvation. To which are added, Several other excellent Divine Tracts (London: Nath. Crouch, 1699), 124.

[2] In a 1676 edition of this classic, there is an appended work, Spiritual Hymns Used by Some Christians at the Receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, with some others (London: Nath. Crouch, 1676). The use of the term “sacrament” by this Calvinistic Baptist is noteworthy, it being a term commonly used by Baptist at this time.

[3] In this regard, see Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, “The Spirit of the Old Writers: The Great Awakening and the Persistence of Puritan Piety” in Francis J. Bremer, ed., Puritanism: Transatlantic Perspectives on a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Faith (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1993), 281.

[4] Our principal source of information about Wilcox is Thomas Crosby, The History of the English Baptists (London: 1740), III, 101. See also Joseph Ivimey, A History of the English Baptists (London: 1814), II, 465; W. T. Whitley, The Baptists of London 1612-1928 (London: The Kingsgate Press, 1928), 120.

A church historian’s brief take on The Shack

October 18th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Tonight I was with a good friend, Scott Dyer (whom I have known since 1982 when he took a class with me on 1 Corinthians, and which I have been teaching at TBS this term on certain Saturdays), and we chatted a little about the recent bestseller The Shack. Scott rightly pointed out how nervey it is to put words in the mouth of our holy Lord–and such words too! When one thinks of recent reading material in Evangelical circles it makes anyone concerned about biblical fidelity and solid theology wince and blush! To think that later generations will judge this day by such wretched theological pablum! Or maybe it and other pieces of literature like it will simply sink into oblivion so that only those church historians who are experts in the theological quirkiness of the early 21st century will know about it. Let’s hope so!

Another good friend, Dr Stephen Yuille, who blogs at Deus pro nobis (love that Latin!), has written a fine review here of The Shack.

Senator Obama on abortion: a view from the North

October 18th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

I am not an American, but as a Canadian who believes that our nation is intimately tied to the United States–which to my mind makes some of the remarks by the Liberal Party and the NDP in the most recent election about what they would do for the economy simply pie in the sky (thankfully many Canadian voters saw the inadequacy of the Liberals’ platform in the most recent election)–I am convinced that the American election should be of deep concern to us and be a matter of real prayer.

Here is a disturbing article by Robert George and Yuval Levin that clearly reveals Senator Obama’s position on abortion: Obama and Infanticide. As Dr Russell Moore made plain in Thursday’s chapel at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, this issue of abortion is the critical issue of our day (see his powerful message, “Joseph of Nazareth Is a Single-Issue Evangelical: The Father of Jesus, the Cries of the Helpless, and Change You Can Believe In” (Matt 2:13-23) ), and Christians must make this the critical factor in voting. Otherwise, how can we condemn the Nazi regime for its murderous brutality?

HT: Justin Taylor.

Miss White and Mr & Mrs Edwards

October 17th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Keith Edwards, whose friendship I treasure and thank God for regularly, here gives thanks to God for his mother in the faith: see the latest post on his blog for Miss White.

And while you are at it, read his lovely tribute to his dear wife, one of my wife’s closest friends: 25 Years – A Tribute to My Wife
Thank you Lord for Keith and Ruth.

New Release: The Advent of Evangelicalism

October 14th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Dr. Haykin has edited another book which is soon to be released by B&H Academic.  The volume is titled The Advent of Evangelicalism and was co-edited with Kenneth Stewart.  This volume is offers a scholarly interaction with David Bebbington’s widely acclaimed 1989 book, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s by scholars on both sides of the Atlantic.

Contributors include: David W. Bebbington, Joel R. Beeke, John Coffey, Timothy George, Crawford Gribben, Michael A. G. Haykin, Paul Helm, D. Bruce Hindmarsh, David Ceri Jones, Thomas S. Kidd, Timothy Larsen, Cameron A. MacKenzie, A. T. B. McGowan, D. Densil Morgan, Ashley Null, Ian J. Shaw, Kenneth J. Stewart, Douglas A. Sweeney, Garry J. Williams, and Brandon G. Withrow.

From the Publisher:

In this critically acclaimed book edited by Michael A. G. Haykin and Kenneth J. Stewart, esteemed contributors address the origins and interpretation of evangelicalism as they make a fresh and critical assessment of David Bebbington’s work, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s (London: Unman Hyman, 1989).


“This book is a must read for those interested in understanding evangelical identity, past and present”.
– James A. Patterson, Union University

“David Bebbington in his magisterial Evangelicalism in Modern Britain is the object of both panegyric and protest in this collection of essays by his colleagues in the discipline of Christian history. The praise is properly profuse, even as the criticism, especially with regard to the source of evangelicalism, is properly profound. Critically, the essayists contend that evangelicalism is a phenomenon that extends geographically beyond Great Britain and that existed chronologically prior to the 1830s. Evangelicalism did not arise creatio ex nihilo; rather, evangelicalism developed within a particular, though broad, social context. Finally, in light of evangelicalism’s current crisis in doctrinal identity, this book may be especially timely.”
– Malcolm B. Yarnell III, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Advent of Evangelicalism makes for clearer thinking about the origin and developments of evangelicalism for a new generation. The range of scholars involved in this work is impressive, and I believe The Advent of Evangelicalism will hold the attention of many scholars and readers for years to come”.
– Dr. Jack C. Whytock of Haddington House, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

The Advent of Evangelicalism is an important series of reflections on David Bebbington’s significant work, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. This book provides an excellent case study on the development of historiography around the organic nature of the generational changes in the church”.
– Robert S. Wilson, Acadia Divinity College

Format: Paperback
Page Count: 432
Retail: $24.99
ISBN-13: 9780805448603

To view the Table of Contents and Editor’s Preface click here (pdf).

To preorder from click here ($16.49!).

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

Oliver Cromwell, Crawford Gribben & a quick reply

October 13th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

In my previous post on Cromwell and the current elections in Canada and the United States I didn’t think that my remark about having admiration for Cromwell would be the controversial remark, but what I said about developing a Christian maturity when it came to politics.

But since my remark about Cromwell elicietd three strong responses, permit me to make a quick reply in a few points.

1. First, I am an Irish Canadian, raised in England in a traditional Irish Catholic home, and proud of my heritage as an Irishman. But I am well aware that in the seventeenth century far too few Emglishmen, Anglican or Puritan, Royalist or Parliamentarian, regarded the Irish with any love or concern. One has to move beyond ethnicity in historical judgments.

2. I was referred to the great scholarly work of Crawford Gribben. Crawford is a close friend for whom I have a deep admiration. I have read most of his work, and agree with his emphases. In making the statement that I admire Cromwell, I am not also saying he was completely innocent when it came to the slaughter at Drogheda and Wexford. But, and this is important, those were the exceptions rather than the rule. He was, as Tom Reilly has put it in his history of the Cromwellian campaigns in Ireland, “an honourable enemy.” And those words are from a Catholic historian from Drogheda.

3. If Cromwell did fail, are we then to resort to a “black and white” interpretation that depicts him as an utter scoundrel? That also would fail to do justice to the historical record. He was a touchstone of controversy in his day–but there must be something of value in his life when men as far afield as James Ussher, John Owen, Roger Williams, William Kiffin, and John Milton regarded him with admiration.

4. Finally, I am personally delighted at the responses–thank you for posting–it shows that concern about historical interpretation is still a vital concern to some.

Oliver Cromwell & the current elections

October 10th, 2008 Posted in 17th Century, Current Affairs, Puritans

I must confess to having enormous admiration for that most controversial of figures, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), about whom two or three new books have appeared this year. The reason for my admiration will become plain in part from the following extract from A Declaration of the Army of England upon their March into Scotland To all that are Saints, and partakers of the faith of God’s Elect, in Scotland, which was issued July 19, 1650. In it Cromwell made this excellent statement:

“Is all religion wrapped up in that or any one form? Doth that name, or thing, give the difference between those that are the members of Christ and those that are not? We think not so. We say, faith working by love is the true character of a Christian; and, God is our witness, in whomsoever we see any thing of Christ to be, there we reckon our duty to love, waiting for a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of God to make all those Christians, who, by the malice of the world, are diversified, and by their own carnal-mindedness, do diversify themselves by several names of reproach, to be of one heart and one mind, worshipping God with one consent.”

With elections facing both Canada and the United States, some bitter words are being uttered by adherents of the different political persuasions. And even Christians have allowed what Cromwell here calls “the malice of the world” to influence them in harsh remarks about political opponents. I suppose this is a danger to which young men are prone and some of the comments I have read that have deeply disturbed me by their attitude have been written by younger brothers. But folly and malice are no respecters of age!

There are Christians today who make the heart of the gospel a political position or an economic perspective. Surely Christians may differ on such issues. As Cromwell rightly says: “Is all religion wrapped up in that or any one form?” He was talking about making ecclesial issues the heart of the gospel. In our day, some, and some who should know better, are making this political policy or that economic strategy essential to gospel truth.

The gospel touches on political and economic realities for sure—not one square inch of this universe is not owned by King Jesus, and we look forward to a glorious theocracy one day in the new heavens and the new earth in which there will be true liberty—but till then, we must learn as Christians to disagree in love on such secondary issues. Yes, have convictions; but love all who love the Lord Jesus.

If we cannot love our brothers and sisters who disagree with us in this and must hit them verbally with invective and name-calling, how on earth will we ever love those that reject the gospel and take very contrary positions to ours on matters far more weighty?

John Newton on the vocation of a gospel minister

October 10th, 2008 Posted in 18th Century

Before John Newton (1725-1807) was called to the Anglican ministry he described what he understood his calling to be to a friend, Harry Crooke of Hunslett, Leeds, in these words:

“The message I would bear is Jesus Christ and him crucified and from the consideration of the great things he has done, to recommend and enforce Gospel holiness and Gospel love, and to take as little notice of our fierce contests, controversies and divisions as possible. My desire is to lift up the banner of the Lord, and to draw the sword of the Spirit not against names, parties and opinions, but against the world, the flesh and the devil; and to invite poor perishing sinners not to espouse a system of my own or any man’s, but to fly to the Lord Jesus, the sure and only city of refuge and the ready, compassionate and all sufficient Saviour of those that trust in him.”

[Cited Marylynn Rouse, “An important turn to my future life”, The John Newton Project Prayer Letter(October/November 2008), p.1].

In some ways, a better description of the vocation of a Gospel minister would be hard to find.