Archive for February, 2013

Two Recent Books by AFCBS Junior Fellow Dustin Benge

February 27th, 2013 Posted in 16th Century, 18th Century, Biblical Spirituality, Books, Eminent Christians, Prayer

By Steve Weaver

Dustin Benge, one of the contributors to this blog (and Junior Fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center), has recently published two books featuring devotional selections from the writings of two of the greatest theologians in the history of the church. Benge’s first book provided daily devotions from the sermons of Jonathan Edwards and was published by Reformation Heritage Books (sample pages here). Don Whitney (Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) has said the following about this volume.

“Few Christian writers could be mentioned in the same breath with Jonathan Edwards when it comes to heart-stirring devotional writing that is theologically rock-solid. Dustin Benge has done the church a great service by compiling these God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Gospel-centered, soul-enriching excerpts from some of Edwards’s magnificent, but lesser-known sermons. Read edifying passages from Edwards like this every day for awhile, and you’ll be the better for it.”

A second work by Benge, which was also published by Reformation Heritage Books, provides a selection of 150 prayers by John Calvin (sample pages here). These prayers were previously only available in Calvin’s voluminous Old Testament commentaries. Benge has now made these prayers accessible to a new generation through his diligent efforts. Steven J. Lawson, author of The Expository Genius of John Calvin, had this to say about the volume.

 “Dustin Benge has done the church a great service by compiling this generous selection of prayers by the great Genevan Reformer, John Calvin. Extracted from his luminous Old Testament Commentaries, these fervent intercessions reveal the warm piety that accompanied this theological genius. Calvin’s personal logo was an open hand, holding a heart, extended upward to God with the words, ‘My heart I offer to Thee, Lord, promptly and sincerely.’ This book clearly demonstrates such singular devotion to God. Here is Calvin’s high doxology, arising upward from his high theology. And here is his exaltation of God, ascending from sound exegesis and exposition. By reading these prayers, I have no doubt but that your own heart will be likewise inflamed.”

You can listen to an MP3 lecture by Benge on the prayers of John Calvin which was delivered at an AFCBS mini-conference a couple of years ago. You can read Benge’s continuing reflections on biblical spirituality at the new blog “Tinkers & Saints” which he maintains along with fellow AFCBS contributor and Junior Fellow Dustin Bruce.

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Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and a junior fellow of the Center. He also serves as senior pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY. Steve and his wife Gretta have six children between the ages of 2 and 13.

The poor estate of English roads in the 18th & early 19th centuries

February 26th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Historians

By Michael A.G. Haykin

In an early nineteenth-century French gazetteer, there is an interesting comment on the state of the roads in London: “Les rues de Londres sont mal pavées; les grandes routes ne le sont point du tout” (Méthode abrégée et facile pour apprendre la Géographie [Lyon: Blache et Boyet, 1806], 222). Putting aside the possibility of French bias when it comes to all things English, this is a fascinating comment that, if it is borne out by other sources, would illumine the challenges of getting around eighteenth-century London.

Of course, the poor repair of roads in general in eighteenth-century England is a factor that explains the isolation of Nonconformist causes in the land. And here is a good example of how geographical knowledge can be invaluable to historians.

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Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

Diarmaid MacCulloch: All history writing is autobiography

February 25th, 2013 Posted in 21st Century, Books, Church History, Current Affairs, Historians, Reformation

By Ian Hugh Clary

Recently I had the opportunity to hear Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch give a lecture on the history of Christianity and sexuality. MacCulloch is a church historian from Oxford who specializes in the English Reformation. As an evangelical, I find that his interpretation of history squares with my own, so I was perplexed by his talk.

For those who may not know, Prof. MacCulloch is an out-of-the-closet homosexual—just check the acknowledgements section of his masterful biography of Cranmer. He is also an advocate in the Church of England—where he was once an office-bearer—for gay rights. He recently left the church and now considers himself a “friend” of Christianity. As you can imagine, his lecture provoked questions. I believed that I would hear a very careful handling of sources, though admittedly there may be revisionist elements. I was wrong in my assessment.

Before I explain why, I should say that MacCulloch is an exciting lecturer—the hour or so he took in his first talk went by quickly. He addressed the role of sexuality from the Old Testament to the late Middle Ages; it was fast-paced and he covered a lot of ground, but it was never confusing or boring. I could only imagine what it must have been like to take one of his classes.

As the lecture progressed, however, I became troubled. From beginning to end, MacCulloch gave a large polemic against traditional interpretations of scripture and history. I also became more and more incredulous. This was not due to hearing an historian defend gay rights, that doesn’t shock me—it’s commonplace in academia. My upset was due to my hearing one of the world’s leading ecclesiastical historians be so shaped by his personal bias that it allowed him to crudely handle texts and history. As for scripture, MacCulloch used Boswell’s hermeneutic, alluded to gay relationships between figures like David and Jonathan, and drove a wedge between the sexual ethics of Jesus and Paul (saying the latter was the more liberal); all of this has long since been repudiated by scholars like Robert Gagnon. MacCulloch was dishonest to his audience by making his case seem so open and shut, when such is far from the case.

MacCulloch based his historical arguments on Hellenization that he argued infected the early church so that it denigrated the physical world and thus sexuality. He also hammered against the celibacy that has so dominated the western church. While I have sympathies with his views of monastic celibacy, he did not give a rounded view of the early church on the goodness of sex and marriage—the work of David Hunter offers a needed corrective. Though I was not able to attend his second lecture the next day, a friend told me that MacCulloch also did not deal with the Puritans and their views of sex, marriage, and the body—the Puritans, as Leland Ryken and others have shown, had a healthy view of sex, and were not Platonists in their view of the material world.

In the Q & A I shocked myself by raising my hand. Seemingly without control I stood and asked, “If you will allow me to ask a personal question, that is not at all meant to be cheeky, I wondered how you view your reading of history in light of your own personal story and struggles in the church. Could traditional historians not accuse you of allowing your own bias to inappropriately control your historiography, as you have accused Augustine?” He was gracious in his response, and even acknowledged the importance of the question. He replied that “all history writing is autobiography.” I found this so perplexing to hear from a scholar who has been such a model historian to me. For one who could appropriate the findings of Catholic revisionists like Eamon Duffy, yet do so while being true to the English Reformation and vindicating earlier historians like A. G. Dickens, I was disappointed to hear him justify a reading of history that would not square with his earlier historiographic methods.

Professor MacCulloch serves as a reminder to all of us: as historians, now matter how great or prestigious, we must be aware of our personal biases and strive towards objectivity. While pure objectivity is impossible, I do believe that historians can put forth a body of work that can withstand scrutiny from specialists. And while my autobiography may lurk, I cannot allow it to so colour my work that it misleads readers.

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Ian Hugh Clary is finishing doctoral studies under Adriaan Neele at Universiteit van die Vrystaat (Blomfontein), where he is writing a dissertation on the evangelical historiography of Arnold Dallimore. He has co-authored two local church histories with Michael Haykin and contributed articles to numerous scholarly journals. Ian serves as a pastor of BridgeWay Covenant Church in Toronto where he lives with his wife and two children.

Some memories of John Codman about Andrew Fuller

February 20th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Church History

By Michael A.G. Haykin

John Codman (1782–1847) was an American Congregationalist minister who graduated from Harvard in 1802. His grandfather, also John Codman (1719–1792), was converted under and nourished by the preaching of George Whitefield and Gilbert Tennent. After his graduation from Harvard, the younger Codman decided to study in Scotland and made the trip across the Atlantic in July and August, 1805—the voyage took a month. While on board ship Codman read what he called “an excellent little pamphlet by Andrew Fuller, on the question, “What shall I do to be saved?” This must have been Fuller’s The Great Question Answered, a 19th century copy of which I have published by the American Tract Society and that was kindly given me in 2008 by Nathan Harmon, when he was studying at SBTS.

Codman later met Fuller with John Ryland at an ordination in the fall of 1805. He described Fuller to a correspondent as “our much admired Andrew Fuller” and observed after this meeting that the English Baptists were “highly intelligent and respectable, and they unite with the most evangelical sentiments the true spirit of charity.” (William Allen, Memoir of John Codman, D.D. [Boston, MA: T.R. Marvin and S.K. Whipple & Co., 1853], 12, 20, 35, 45).

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Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

When a Friend Dies: A Funeral Sermon for Andrew Fuller

February 19th, 2013 Posted in 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Dustin Benge

The day before his forty-second birthday, May 21, 1815, Joseph Ivimey, arrived to preach his usual Sunday sermon at the Baptist church at Eagle Street, London. This Lord’s day at Eagle Street stood in marked contrast to all the rest. Ivimey would not deliver his usual exposition, but instead, would reflect on the memory of his dear friend and fellow BMS member, Andrew Fuller. Fuller, pastor of Kettering Baptist Church, Northamptonshire, died at Kettering, about eleven o’clock on the Lord’s day morning, May 7, 1815, at sixty-two years of age. The English Baptist world began to lament his death with several sermons being preached marking the loss of this great stalwart of gospel zeal. Ivimey mounted the pulpit on May 21, no doubt with much heaviness in his heart, to preach a sermon entitled, The Perpetual Intercession of Christ for His Church: A Source of Consolation Under the Loss of Useful Ministers.

Ordained as pastor of Eagle Street in 1805, Ivimey had occupied the same pulpit for 10 years and became one of the leading forces of the English Baptist denomination. Biographer, George Prichard, said of Ivimey in 1835, “he was a warm friend and zealous advocate of missionary enterprise.”[1] It was this zeal for the missionary enterprise that lead him to his first acquaintance with the secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society, Andrew Fuller, while Fuller was visiting London in 1807 on official BMS fund-raising business. The following years would be marked by frequent correspondence and communication between these two growing friends. In 1812, Ivimey would be invited by Fuller to become apart of the executive management of the BMS. On April 19, 1814 the Baptist Society for Promoting the Gospel in Ireland was formed. Ivimey was the first secretary (an honorary office); he visited Ireland in May 1814, and retained the secretaryship till October 3, 1833. Ivimey died on February 8, 1834, and was buried on at Bunhill Fields in London. A little before his departure he was reported to have said, “Not a wave of trouble rolls across my peaceful breast.” The legacy of Joseph Ivimey is seen most vividly in his four volume, A History of the English Baptists, for which he is most widely known.

The Perpetual Intercession of Christ for His Church is not ostentatious flattery, but on the contrary, is a humble reflection of an eminent figure of theological and pastoral stature, as well as a dear friend. The sermon climaxes with a careful analysis of the honorable and godly character of Andrew Fuller. Character that was attested to by many. Ivimey describes his personal inadequacy to fully describe such a man’s character. He says, “It may, however, be said of him, as it was of Barnabas: He was a good man.” Regarding Fuller’s view and practice of friendship, Ivimey says, “To those who were indulged with his friendship, he felt and manifested tender affection.”

Ivimey’s words weave a portrait of a man who loved Christ, loved the gospel, and gave his life in the advance of the Kingdom of Christ with the assistance of many dear friends. Ivimey speaks of a man who admits time and time again, that his work could never have been accomplished had it not been for the undergirding of friends. Ivimey says, “Surely, the language of David, concerning Abner, “Know ye not, that a prince, and a great man, is fallen this day in Israel?” May, without any impropriety, be applied to the late Andrew Fuller.”


                [1] George Pritchard, Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Rev. Joseph Ivimey (London: George Wightman, 1835) 82.

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Dustin Benge serves as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Kentucky. He is also a PhD candidate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a junior fellow at The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. Dustin and his wife, Molli, live in Jackson.

BorderStone Press

February 18th, 2013 Posted in Books

By Michael A.G. Haykin

In a world that seems to be increasingly digital, news about successes in print publishing is good news for those of us who love “hard” books. A relatively new publishing house to look out for is BorderStone Press, run by editorial directors Brian Mooney and Roger Duke, which has begun to issue some noteworthy titles: our own Nathan Finn’s new edition of the elder Robert Hall’s Help to Zion’s Travellers;  two new studies by Kieran Beville—a dear friend who teaches at Tyndale Seminary in Holland—one on Christmas and the other on the Lord’s Prayer; a study of Bunyan on prayer by Brian Najapfour (a pastor and doctoral candidate in MI); and Michael McMullen’s edition of some unpublished sermons of Jonathan Edwards (Dr McMullen teaches at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is involved in editing one of the volumes in the Andrew Fuller Works Project).

Keep up the good work, Brian and Roger!

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Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

Thomas Doolittle on eyeing Eternity

February 18th, 2013 Posted in 17th Century, Eminent Christians, Great Quotes, Puritans

By Dustin Bruce

Gospel preachers are prone to developing a lazy eye when it comes to viewing the present in light of eternity. In a sermon entitled, “How We Should Eye Eternity, That It May Influence Us In All We Do,” the Puritan pastor, Thomas Doolittle (1630­–1707) offers a special word to ministers:

When we are to preach to people that must live forever in heaven or hell, with God or devils; and our very preaching is the means appointed by God to fit men for an everlasting state: when we stand and view some hundreds of persons before us, and think, “All these are going to eternity: now we see them, and they see us; but after a little while they shall see us no more in our pulpits, nor we them in their pews… It may be, some of these are hearing their last sermon, making their last public prayers, keeping their last Sabbath; and before we come to preach again, might be gone into another world:” if we had but a firm belief of eternity ourselves, and a real lively sense of the mortality of their bodies and our own…how pathetically should we plead with them, plentifully weep over them, fervently pray for them; that our words, or rather the word of the eternal God, might have effectual operation on their hearts!

Doolittle mentions several ways maintaining an eye on eternity impacts a gospel minister:

First, eyeing eternity leads preachers to be “painful and diligent” in sermon preparation. He elaborates, “Idleness in a shop-keeper is a sin, but much more in a minister; in a trader, much more in a preacher.”

Second, eyeing eternity provokes preachers “into declaring the whole counsel of God.” Doolittle means that preachers should not hesitate to tell men of their sin and evils for fear of offense. Preachers with an eye upon eternity provoke the consciences of men for the gospel so as to say with Paul, “I am pure from the blood of all men.”

Third, eyeing eternity leads preachers to “be plain in speech.” A minister of the gospel must avoid starving those he pretends to feed by the use of lofty expressions. What a tragedy to have some condemned for eternity “because the learned preacher would not stoop to speak…of eternal matters in language that they might have understood.”

Finally, eyeing eternity leads pastors to raise up a new generation of gospel ministers. Doolittle emphasizes, “Those that are now engaged in the work, will shortly be all silenced by death and dust; and how desirable is it that your children and posterity should see and hear others preaching in their room!”

Eyeing eternity carries “influence in all we do.” While this is true for all believers, perhaps it is doubly so for the minister. Preacher, “do ye, while ye are in time, eye eternity in all you do?”

Note: Thomas Doolittle was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire and experienced conversion under the preaching of Richard Baxter. The actual sermon series used for Doolittle’s conversion would later be published as The Saints Everlasting (1653). Doolittle graduated from Pembroke Hall, Camdridge with a B.A. (1653) and Master’s (1656) and became a noted pastor to St. Alfege, London Wall, until his ejection from the Church of England in 1662. Doolittle then founded the Pioneer Noncomformist Academy, which operated for 35 years and influenced hundreds of students, including Matthew Henry and Edmund Calamy. The resilient nonconformist faced a lifetime of persecution and became the final ejected minister to enter into glory (Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans [Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006], 180–183).

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Dustin Bruce lives in Louisville, KY where he is pursuing a ThM in Church History at Southern Seminary. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Southwestern Seminary. Dustin and his wife, Whitney, originally hail from Alabama.

Free Andrew Fuller Biographies Available Online

February 14th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Nathan Finn

For those interested in reading more about the life of Andrew Fuller, numerous biographies are available online for free. Several of these are nineteenth-century works available through Google Books. For example, see the following:

John Ryland Jr., The Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope, illustrated; In the Life and Death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Late Pastor of the Baptist Church at Kettering, and Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society, From its Commencement, in 1792 (Charlestown: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1818).

J. W. Morris, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, Late Pastor of the Baptist Church at Kettering, and First Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society, First American, from the last London edition, ed. Rufus Babcock (Boston: Lincoln and Edmonds, 1830).

Andrew Gunton Fuller, Men Worth Remembering: Andrew Fuller (London: Houghton and Stoddard, 1882).

In addition to these biographies on Google Books, the Baptist History Homepage, maintained by Jim Duvall, includes numerous shorter biographies of Fuller. Most of these sources are nineteenth-century dictionary entries and obituaries. Both Google Books and the Baptist History Homepage also include numerous primary sources written by Fuller.

In terms of more recent electronic biographical resources, last summer Desiring God published John Piper’s Andrew Fuller: I Will Go Down If You Will Hold the Rope! (Desiring God, 2012). The book, based upon Piper’s 2007 biographical address on Fuller at the Desiring God Conference for Pastors, is available for free in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF formats.

On the Andrew Fuller Center website, you can read Michael Haykin’s biographical essay on Fuller, titled “‘A Dull Flint’: Andrew Fuller— Rope-Holder, Critic of Hyper-Calvinism & Missionary Pioneer.” This essay will be published as a chapter in Haykin’s forthcoming book “Ardent Love to Jesus”: English Baptists and the Experience of Revival in the Long Eighteenth Century (Bryntirion Press, 2013).

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Nathan A. Finn is associate professor of historical theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also an elder at First Baptist Church of Durham, NC and a senior fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

New Contributors for AFCBS Blog

February 13th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized

In light of our desire to provide more regular content to this site, we have asked several individuals affiliated with the Andrew Fuller Center to begin to regularly contribute to the blog. Of course, Dr. Haykin will continue to post often, but this blog will now also feature posts by others in order to keep fresh content posted on a more consistent basis. The new contributors will largely stay to the general theme of church history as indicated by the blog’s title: Historia ecclesiastica.

Contributors will include:

Dustin Benge serves as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Kentucky. He is also a PhD candidate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a junior fellow at The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies for which he serves as a research assistant and managing editor of The Andrew Fuller Review. Dustin and his wife, Molli, live in Jackson.

Dustin Bruce lives in Louisville, KY where he is pursuing a ThM in Church History at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dustin and his wife, Whitney, originally hail from Alabama.

Ian Hugh Clary is finishing doctoral studies under Adriaan Neele at Universiteit van die Vrystaat (Blomfontein), where he is writing a dissertation on the evangelical historiography of Arnold Dallimore. He has co-authored two local church histories with Michael Haykin and contributed articles to numerous scholarly journals. Ian serves as a pastor of BridgeWay Covenant Church in Toronto where he lives with his wife and two children.

Nathan A. Finn is associate professor of historical theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also an elder at First Baptist Church of Durham, NC and a senior fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

Michael A.G. Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He also serves as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Haykin and his wife Alison have two grown children, Victoria and Nigel.

Jeff Robinson (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Senior Pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church. Jeff is the author of the forthcoming book, The Great Commission Vision of John Calvin.

 

Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and a junior fellow of the Center. He also serves as senior pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY. Steve and his wife Gretta have six children between the ages of 2 and 13.

Be sure to bookmark this site and check back daily as new content will be added often. You can keep up with the latest on this website by subscribing to our RSS feed or by following us on Twitter (@AFCBS). For those not on Twitter, you can keep up with our latest Twitter postings on our right sidebar. Many times links to resources will be provided here that will not be mentioned in a blog post.

Family Life Today Interviews Dr. Haykin on the Romance and Love Letters of Great Christians

February 13th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized

By Steve Weaver

Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin has been interviewed for the nationwide radio program Family Life Today to discuss love and romance among Christians throughout history.  The special two-part interview for Valentine’s Day is scheduled to air on Thursday (02/14/13) and Friday (02/15/13).  To find a time and station in your area click here.

The topic of this conversation flows from Dr. Haykin’s book The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers which provides an interesting glimpse at the love letters of believers through the centuries.

If you don’t have the opportunity to listen when the programs air, you can already access the programs online here.

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Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and is a junior fellow of the Center. He also serves as senior pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY. Steve and his wife Gretta have six children between the ages of 2 and 13.