Why devote a significant amount of one’s academic career to focus on a figure, namely, Andrew Fuller, who is nowhere near as well known as say, Athanasius, Anselm, Calvin, Owen of Edwards? Is it worth doing? A comment by the great historical theologian Geoffrey Bromiley has never left me in the many years since I read it: As a Christian academic, pour your energy into what is worthwhile. Is the study of Fuller and Fullerism worthwhile? The unequivocal answer is yes!
Fuller exemplifies for me the best in Baptist thought and piety. He was rigorous in defence of the Christian faith and an unashamed Baptist (he did, after all, argue for a closed communion over against his close friends William Carey and William Ward). He knew that piety was the vital fire to ignite the coals of doctrine. His love for his family and friends was remarkable: Carey’s three words when he heard of his death sum it all up, “I loved him,” he said. He was catholic and reformed in the best sense of those terms, and could well be described as a reformed catholic theologian, as Owen and Benjamin Keach have recently been so described. He was the main disseminator of Edwardsean theology in the UK in the nineteenth century, and true to his mentor, Edwards, passionately missional. Little wonder, Spurgeon rightly commented to his son that Fuller was the greatest theologian the Baptists had in the nineteenth century.
Did he get everything right? No. But that does not diminish from his greatness. Spending time elucidating his thought is time indeed well spent.