Archive for January, 2012

Christmas 1677 & 1679

January 31st, 2012 Posted in 17th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History

While working through the Wapping Church minute book, I discovered this festive account from 1677. The church had voted to withdraw fellowship from Okey in June of the year. Apparently that was not okay with Okey. Okey had responded by praying for God to kill the pastor, Hercules Collins. The church took the following further action on Christmas Day 1677.

At the Church Meeting in ole Gravell Lane the 25th of December 1677 was John Okey Cut off and Excommunicated from all the priviledges of the gospel for the sin of lying and Revilling and for Refusing to hear the Church: together with his Invocating the God of Heaven to cut off and destroy Bro: Collings and saying also that he would be Revenged.

On a bit more pleasant note than the Christmas 1677 meeting, the Wapping Church took up a special collection for London pastor Benjamin Keach on December 25, 1679 in response to his recently having been robbed.

December 25th 1679 The Congregation in old Gravell Lane Did then Raise and give to Bro. Benj. Keach when he was Robed the Sum of Three pound five shillings

The church ultimately gave 3 pounds and eight shillings to Keach. On December 30th 1679, it was recorded in the minute book that: “Bro. Collings gave to Bro. Keach the Sum of three pound Eight Shillings which was gathered for him of the Church.”

The above was posted last week on my personal blog and the Hercules Collins site.

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

“The mission of art”

January 28th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

Here is a great statement from Steven D. Greydanus in his review of the film The Mill & the Cross on the purpose of art:

“André Bazin, the great Catholic film critic and theorist, wrote about the mission of art to rescue the world from transience and corruption, to capture moments and events in time and space before they slip into the irretrievable past, and so bear witness to the hand of God in creation.”

Remembering C.H. Spurgeon’s success and spirituality

January 27th, 2012 Posted in 19th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History, Eminent Christians

In many ways, C.H. Spurgeon’s ministry was nothing less than amazing: the crowded auditories that assembled to hear the “Cambridgeshire lad” in the 1850s and that continued unabated till the end of his ministry in the early 1890s; the remarkable conversions that occurred under his preaching and the numerous churches in metropolitan London and the county of Surrey that owed their origins to his Evangelical activism; the solid Puritan divinity that undergirded his Evangelical convictions-something of a rarity in the heyday of the Victorian era during which he ministered for that was a day imbued with the very different ambience of Romanticism; and finally, the ongoing life of his sermons that are still being widely read around the world today and deeply appreciated by God’s children.

What accounts for all of this? Numerous reasons could be cited, many of which may indeed play a secondary role in his ministerial success. For example, in a fairly recent biography of Spurgeon, Mike Nicholls emphasizes the importance of Spurgeon’s voice to his success as a preacher.  He possessed, Nicholls writes, “one of the great speaking voices of his age, musical and combining compass, flexibility and power.”(1) Augustine Birrell (1850-1933), the son of one of Spurgeon’s fellow Baptist pastors and who served as the Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916, testifies to this fact. Birrell records that when he went to hear Spurgeon preach once, the only seat he could find was in the topmost gallery, in what the English call “the gods.” He was squished between a woman eating an orange and a man sucking peppermints.  Finding this combination of odours unendurable, he was about to leave, when, he said, “I heard a voice and forgot all else.”(2) But Spurgeon himself looked to quite a different source for the blessings that attended his ministry.  In a speech that he gave at a celebration held in honour of his fiftieth birthday in 1884, the Baptist preacher forthrightly declared that the blessing he had enjoyed in his pastorate “must be entirely attributed to the grace of God, and to the working of God’s Holy Spirit… Let that stand as a matter, not only taken for granted, but as a fact distinctly recognized.”(3) In other words: behind Spurgeon’s successes as a minister of the gospel was his walk with God.


  1. C. H. Spurgeon: The Pastor Evangelist (Didcot, Oxfordshire: Baptist Historical Society, 1992), 37.
  2. Cited E.J. Poole-Connor, Evangelicalism in England (London: The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, 1951), 226-227.
  3. C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, compiled Susannah Spurgeon and J.W. Harrald (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1900), IV, 243.

Henry Coppinger

January 26th, 2012 Posted in 16th Century, 17th Century, Church History, Eminent Christians, Puritans

Lavenham parish church is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful Anglican church buildings in the entire county of Suffolk, something that I can attest from personal experience, having visited the church last September. For a hundred years, from 1578 to 1679, the church was served by a succession of Puritan pastors, the last of whom was the famous William Gurnall, the author of The Christian in Complete Armour (1661).

Now, the first Puritan leader in the Suffolk town was Henry Coppinger, Lavenham church’s longest-serving pastor, who was there from 1578 to 1622. When his father, also Henry Coppinger, was dying, he asked the younger Coppinger, one of eleven sons, what course of life he would follow. When the latter told him he intended to be a minister of gospel, the elder Coppinger was immensely pleased, for he said, “what shall I say to Martin Luther when I shall see him in heaven, and he knows that God gave me eleven sons, and I made not one of them a minister?”

PS One of the great joys at Southern, where I teach, is serving with Dr Mark Coppenger. Drafting this mini-post I was obviously struck by the similarity of his name with that of Henry Coppinger (a difference of an i/e, easily accounted for). Maybe I am serving with a descendant of this Puritan leader who helped prepare the way for the great Gurnall!

The Solution to Rebellious Children

January 18th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

Here is a great post on rebellious children: http://gospelstoryforkids.com/even-perfect-parents-have-rebellious-children/

New Book by Dr. Haykin on the Reformers and Puritans Coming Soon

January 13th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin has a new book coming soon from Joshua Press. This book will focus on the Reformers and Puritans as spiritual mentors.

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

Hilary of Poitiers on true piety

January 13th, 2012 Posted in Church History, Great Quotes

In his book on the Trinity, Hilary of Pictavis (modern Poitiers) has a very telling statement regarding the Patristic understanding of the heart of piety: “in confessione pietas est”—“in confession there is piety” (De Trinitate 10.70). For theologians of the Ancient Church like Hilary, doctrinal confession was essential to true piety.

Justin Martyr on prayer: two comments

January 7th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

It has been said that there are few texts in Patristic material that indicate Christians prayed for the salvation of unbelievers. I think the case is rather that the effort in finding them has not been made.

Here are two from Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho 96.3 and then right at the close where Justin prays for Trypho and his friends (Dialogue with Trypho 142.3).

Also noteworthy is what Justin says about the common perception regarding the type of prayers that God hears: “who does not know that prayer is the most pleasing to God which is uttered with lamentation and tears, with prostrate body or bended knees?” (Dialogue with Trypho 90.4). Of course, in the context, Justin is seeking to show that Moses’ prayers during the battle with the Amalekites were nonetheless heard even though he was seated. The whole passage needs read, for it is a fascinating piece of early Christian exegesis to show that it is prayer through the crucified Christ that wins the hearing of God.

New Book Review Posted

January 5th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

Dr. Michael Haykin has penned a brief review of Renovation of the Church. What Happens When a Seeker Church Discovers Spiritual Formation by Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken. You can access the review by clicking on the title or by visiting this site’s “Book Review” page.

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