Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.
In the midst of the discussion about Anabaptist origins of modern-day Baptists, it is very interesting that a document associated with Thomas Helwys (c.1575–c.1616), who is one of the key founders of Baptist witness in the first decade of the seventeenth century, can state quite plainly that it has been written—and I retain the spelling of the original—by “Christs unworthy witnesses,…comonly but most falsly called Annabaptists”—Obiections (1615), [p.vii].
Today is a fateful day in British history: the day on which King Charles I was executed in 1649. To some he became a martyr figure. To others, it was a fitting end to the “man of blood.” Most of my Baptist forebears alive at the time would have supported the decision to execute their monarch. For me, it is vital to understand why men and women in that day felt the need to kill their king and how they read Scripture so as to justify their decision.
Am working right now on a talk for tomorrow at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto on “Celebrating our roots; Anticipating the harvest”—a 400th anniversary celebration of Baptist origins with John Smyth and Thomas Helwys and the like. It is historic in some ways since it will bring together Baptists from the FEBC and BCOQ to celebrate together our forebears and God’s goodness over the years.
In some ways gathering to recall the beginnings of those Christians called Baptists is a little like one of those rock concerts for boomers, who come together to hear a sixties band belt out some of their favourite rock n’ roll hits from that era. It would be easy to think that those aging rockers are merely indulging in nostalgia. Sure, there is some of that. But to a real extent their roots lie back in the sixties. That was the era that defined their social, sexual, and spiritual views and reliving the vibrant music of that era that stirred their souls so deeply then helps them reaffirm their identity now. In a somewhat similar way, what we are doing when we celebrate our roots is not mere antiquarianism: oh, wouldn’t it have been lovely to live in that era! No, we gather together to re-affirm who we are by recalling where we have come from.
I was recently asked by a good friend, Hélène Grondines, one of the finest artists I know and who is working on a portrait of Samuel Pearce (1766–1799), the Baptist leader of the eighteenth century, how I would explain who Pearce was in one line to non-Christians. Here is an initial go at it:
Samuel Pearce was a Baptist minister in England at the close of the eighteenth century whose preaching and walk with God, despite an early death at the age of thirty-three, made him an influential figure at the beginning of the modern worldwide expansion of Christianity.
The challenge with the whole area of studying spirituality and spiritual formation is that for decades, the Roman Catholics have dominated this area of study. While Evangelicals poured in tremendous resources preaching the gospel and responding to liberal theology and modernity (all of which needed to be done, no doubt about that), Roman Catholic theologians developed a whole area of what they would call spiritual theology. Now, Evangelicals are playing catch up and so frequently do not have the depth of thought on the subject. And given our ecclesial climate (ECT e.g.), it is all too easy to see the Roman Catholics as the masters at whose feet we need to sit. It is almost as if Evangelicals are saying: if you want to learn about how to be saved come to us. But then, on how to live the Christian life, you need to learn from the Roman Catholics. This is a vast over-simplification, but explains a little why Roman Catholic devotional practices are so easily assimilated into Evangelical piety.
But this is deeply problematic, for the theological foundation upon which Roman Catholics do spiritual formation is skewed (the Reformation was not a mistake and is still needful to orient our thinking). So there needs to be laid—which is what our Puritan forebears did—a solid theological foundation, from which proper reflection on piety can be done. And here Puritan methodology surely points the way. This does not mean that the Roman Catholics have nothing to teach us, but whatever is appropriated must be in line with biblical foundations.
I was recently asked by a dear friend about reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, where to begin and what to read. The advice that follows is, of course, to some degree, subjective, but I trust I hit all of the major things.
For brief overviews of the life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, read J. I. Packer, “David Martyn Lloyd-Jones” in Charles Turner, ed., Chosen Vessels. Portraits of Ten Outstanding Christian Men (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 1985), 109–123; D. Eryl Davies, “Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: An Introduction”, Themelios, 25, No.1 (November 1999), 39–53; and Leigh B. Powell, “Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981): A Personal Appreciation”, Eusebeia, 7 (Spring 2007), 15–37 (this entire issues was devoted to Lloyd-Jones).
The definitive life of Lloyd-Jones are the two volumes by Iain H. Murray: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982) and David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990). His wife, Bethan Lloyd-Jones, also has a delightful small memoir of his first ministry in Wales: Memories of Sandfields, 1927-1938 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Trust Trust, 1983). Also see the little piece by his daughter and son-in-law: Frederick and Elizabeth Catherwood, Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Man and His Books (Bryntirion, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan: Evangelical Library of Wales/London: Evangelical Library, 1982).
As for reading the works of Lloyd-Jones, I would begin with some of his smaller addresses found in Knowing the Times. Addresses Delivered on Various Occasions 1942-1977 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989) or Unity in truth. Addresses given by Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at meetings held under the auspices of the British Evangelical Council, ed. Hywel R. Jones (Darlington, Co. Durham: Evangelical Press, 1991). A personal favourite of mine is his The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), his lectures on matters and figures historical at the Puritan Studies and Westminster Conferences. There is also a fascinating collection of papers in Healing and the Scriptures (1987 ed.; repr. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988) that reflects his ongoing interest in medicine (before becoming a minister of the gospel he was a medical doctor).
There are, of course, his sermon collections on Romans, Ephesians, 2 Peter, 1 John, Acts, and now, various Psalms. I have read much of his teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit, which stirred up no small controversy, in hisJoy Unspeakable (Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985) and The Sovereign Spirit. Discerning His Gifts (Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985). For further on his pneumatology, see Michael A. Eaton, Baptism with the Spirit. The teaching of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1989) and R. B. Lanning, “Dr Lloyd-Jones and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit”, The Banner of Truth, 271 (April 1986), 1-15.
Finally, there is that classic study of pastoral ministry, which I would recommend to all aspiring pastors: Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971). For a brief overview of his works, see Martin Downes, “Review Article: Select Works of Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones”, Themelios, 25, No.1 (November 1999), 54-59.
Rob Bradsaw of BiblicalStudies.org.uk has posted the contents of several issues of ‘Reformation & Revival’. In perusing the articles, I discovered a number of articles by Dr. Haykin contributed to the journal between 1992 and 2000. These articles are available for download or viewing online in PDF format.
JOHN SUTCLIFF AND THE CONCERT OF PRAYER (Summer 1992, 1:3)
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAYER IN JOHN BUNYAN (Spring 1994, 3:2)
JONATHAN EDWARDS AND HIS LEGACY (Summer 1995, 4:3)
THE REFLECTIONS OF A PURITAN THEOLOGIAN ON REGENERATION AND CONVERSION (Summer 1996, 5:3)
Given the prevalence of television in the past, and movies and the internet in the present, in forming our culture, it should be obvious to any culture-watcher that we live in an age when image is everything. “Smoke and shadows” are the new reality. This seems a far cry from what the sixties wanted: authenticity.
Christianity, with its word-based theology and piety, though, affirms that substance is what life is really about: what we do in time “echoes in eternity.”
This is a major challenge for western Christians: how to live lives of reality and substance, not simply image. And it is even a greater danger for a Christian who finds himself or herself in the public limelight: the cultural pressure to maintain an image must be great indeed. May we pray for them that their lives might also be ones of weight and truth.
Just read J.I. Packer’s evaluation of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky: Who Is the Greatest Novelist of All Time? (HT: Justin Taylor). There must be something wrong with me! I can appreciate the depth of this novelist’s faith, but I could never get into or through any of his novels. I really do not like his work! But then I have not been able to read any of the Russians, except for A Solzhenitsyn, whose Red Wheel cycle I loved (but then I cannot read his Gulag series or any of his other novels). But what can you expect from someone who has never been able to make it through Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress ?!!
No, my favourite author in the 19th century is Jane Austen (can anything be more different than Dostoevsky?) and in the 20th J.R.R. Tolkien (now there is an epic writer!).