Archive for December, 2012

Nathan Finn on Recent Trends in Andrew Fuller Studies

December 12th, 2012 Posted in Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Church History

In recent days, Dr. Nathan Finn (Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina) has been blogging at Between the Times about recent trends in Andrew Fuller Studies. The first post covered the twentieth century, while the second post discussed significant writings from the past dozen years. The final post focused upon conferences, primary source reprints, forthcoming collections of essays, and the upcoming critical edition of the Works of Andrew Fuller (for which Dr. Haykin serves as General Editor). If you want to learn more about the growing interest in Andrew Fuller among scholars, pastors, and others, I’d encourage you to head over to Between the Times and read these posts.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin. Slightly modified from this post by Nathan Finn at his personal blog.

Pastoral Admonitions 200 Years Apart (Guest Post by Dustin Bruce)

December 11th, 2012 Posted in Andrew Fuller, Pastoral Ministry

I recently completed an assignment for Dr. Haykin that involved reading Andrew Fuller’s ordination sermons. The exercise was both academically profitable and spiritually edifying. The following is an example of one of many nuggets gleaned from Fuller:

“Live the life of a Christian, as well as of a minister.—Read as one, preach as one, converse as one—to be profited, as well as to profit others. One of the  greatest temptations of a ministerial life is to handle Divine truth as ministers, rather than as Christians—for others, rather than for ourselves. But the word will not profit them that preach it, any more than it will them that hear it, unless it be “mixed with faith.” If we study the Scriptures as Christians, the more familiar we are with them, the more we shall feel their importance; but if our object be only to find out something to say to others, our familiarity with them will prove a snare. It will resemble that of soldiers, and doctors, and undertakers with death; the more familiar we are with them, the less we shall feel their importance. See Prov. 22:17, 18; Psal. 1:2, 3.”
Fuller, “Spiritual Knowledge and Love Necessary for the Ministry,” Works I, 481

Fuller’s exhortation to live the life of a Christian, not just a minister, planted firmly in my mind. Thus, days later, when reading Paul Tripp’s new book, Dangerous Calling, I was struck by the similarity of the two messages. Tripp articulates:

“Ministry had become my identity. No, I didn’t think of myself as a child of God, in daily need of grace, in the middle of my own sanctification, still in a battle with sin, still in need of the body of Christ, and called to pastoral ministry. No, I thought of myself as a pastor. That’s it, bottom line. The office of pastor was more than a calling and a set of God-given gifts that had been recognized by the body of Christ. “Pastor” defined me. It was me in a way that proved to be more dangerous than I thought…My Faith had become a professional calling. It had become my job…It shaped the way I related to God. it formed the relationships with people in my life…So we (pastors) come to relationship with God and others being less than needy. And because we are less than needy, we are less than open to the ministry of others and the conviction of the Spirit. This sucks the life out of the private devotional aspect of our walk with God.”
Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p.22-23

Roughly 200 years passed between Fuller’s sermon and Tripp’s book, yet the problem addressed is much the same. Pastors are tempted to see themselves as pastors, as somehow less needy of God’s grace. In light of this timeless problem, Fuller’s admonition remains as pressing as ever. Pastors, “live the life of a Christian.”

Dustin Bruce is originally from Monroeville, AL and is a graduate of Auburn University and SWBTS. He lives with his wife Whitney in Louisville where he is pursuing a ThM in Church History at SBTS.