‘20th Century’ Category

The ideal home

June 24th, 2013 Posted in 20th Century, Books, Great Quotes

By Michael A.G. Haykin

Of modern 20th-century novelists, J.R.R. Tolkien is, in my opinion, undoubtedly the best. And I agree wholeheartedly with those surveys done in the UK at the turn of this century that placed him way out in front of modernist novelists. Now, in The Hobbit, there is a great description of the elf-lord Elrond’s house in Rivendell: “His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley” (The Hobbit [Rev. ed.; New York: Ballantine Books, 1966), 61—this Ballantine edition is the one that I first read in the late 1960s). The description is repeated in The Lord of the Rings, Part I, where it is described as “the Last Homely House east of the Sea” and the description from The Hobbit cited (see the quotation marks) and elaborated on:

“That house was…‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.” (The Fellowship of the Ring [The Lord of the Rings, Part I; 2nd ed,; London/Sydney: Unwin Hyman, 1966], 237).

One can see the changes at a glance. But my interest is elsewhere. Surely, in this description, Tolkien has captured the western tradition’s thinking about the ideal home.

When my wife and I had our first child, Victoria, I remember hearing in a public address from one of our friends, Anna Pikkert, a description of her home when she was growing up—it was, she said, a place of security (see Tolkien’s statement in The Hobbit, “evil things did not come into that valley”). I thought to myself: that is what I want my home to be. Well, we live in a fallen world, and that dream was never fully realized. And things turn out differently from what we hope for. But Tolkien’s vision of home, encapsulated in these two descriptions, has ever been my dream. Maybe it was that Tolkien’s words, read numerous times, lingered on in my mind. Whatever the case, is this not the sort of home we want: “merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”

And this, I submit, is the biblical understanding of home. Now this is something worth striving for.

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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.

Two new works on Covenant Theology in its Baptist expression

April 8th, 2013 Posted in 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Puritans, Reformation, Theology

By Jeff Robinson

One of the theological questions I have been asked most often during my first 24 months as pastor has been some version of this query: Do Baptists believe Covenant Theology or is that just a Presbyterian thing? My answer (which is consistently “Yes, Baptists have historically believed Covenant Theology that obviously differs a bit from our Presbyterian brethren”) has puzzled some and made others curious enough to launch your own study of my conclusion. But my dear friend Mike Gaydosh at Solid Ground Books in Birmingham, Ala., the city where my family lives, has recently published two books that will provide plenty of grist for that mill and will provide substantive historical and biblical answers to the question of Baptists and their relationship to Covenant Theology.

The first work is titled The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism by Pascal Denault. The point of pressure separating the Baptist and non-Baptist version of Covenant Theology is, of course, the subjects (the who?) of baptism. In the concise span of 140 pages, Denault’s work provides a brilliant historical, biblical and theological defense of believer’s baptism and provides an excellent overview of the consistent, biblical Covenant Theology which the Calvinistic (Particular) Baptists of 17th century England espoused. Denault surveys British Particular Baptists who held to Covenant Theology such as Benjamin Keach and John Gill and also shows biblically how paedobaptists misinterpret the continuity between the promises given to Abraham in the OT and baptism in the NT and arrive at the conclusion that baptism replaces circumcision as the sign of membership in the covenant people of God. The author traces the points at which historic Baptists and their fellow Puritans parted ways on issues of the continuity and discontinuity between the old and new testaments and argues forcibly that Baptists more consistently held to a biblical version of Covenant Theology.

Edited by Earl M. Blackburn, the second work, Covenant Theology: A Baptist Distinctive, is a multi-author work and includes chapters from contributors such as Justin Taylor, Fred Malone and Walter Chantry. Like the Denault book, this work is brief in compass (161 pages, including three appendices) and each of the five well-written chapters examines a separate issue related to the covenants of Scripture, ranging from baptism to the question of the existence of a covenant of works. Blackburn opens with an excellent overview of Covenant Theology and Malone follows with a discussion of biblical hermeneutics and Covenant Theology. This work, like Denault’s book, offers a well-done overview of the Baptist version of Covenant Theology and I heartily recommend them both for your spring or summer reading.

To order, see the Solid Ground Christian Books website at http://www.solid-ground-books.com/index.asp. Phone: (205) 443-0311.

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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. Jeff is also a fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

On the Pall Mall

March 11th, 2013 Posted in 20th Century, Eminent Christians

By Ian Hugh Clary

In 1959 Arnold Dallimore, a pastor from the small Canadian hamlet of Cottam, Ontario, flew to England to meet with his potential publishers at the Banner of Truth Trust. Dallimore, of course, would go on to publish a monumental two-volume biography of the evangelist George Whitefield. But by the late fifties he had only managed a draft or two that were, in his mind, woefully inadequate. A part of his slew of meetings in the UK involved Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Banner’s Iain Murray was responsible for helping Dallimore make his way around London and first introduced the Canadian pastor to the Doctor after a service at Westminster Chapel. After discussing their shared interest in Whitefield, Lloyd-Jones invited Dallimore to the Carlton Club, the famous gentlemen’s club near the Pall Mall in London. Its membership included many leading Conservative politicians and Lloyd-Jones would likely have kept his membership from his days at St. Bart’s.

I have given this meeting much thought over the past year or so—what would it have been like to eavesdrop on these two men? Both of them would go on to have a massive influence on evangelicalism, and to hear them talk about a range of subjects, from Whitefield, revival, and even the Canadian fundamentalist T. T. Shields, would have been thrilling. At this meeting Lloyd-Jones gave Dallimore advice on how to proceed with an updated draft, where to go in Wales to find information on Howell Harris, and other such things that have made the biography great. He was also a major supporter of the work, even defending Dallimore’s interpretations against his own publishers. The first volume would not come out for over ten years after this meeting, and the second volume another ten after that—altogether Dallimore spent over thirty years of his life labouring over what must be one of the most important books of twentieth-century evangelicalism. We can all be thankful that parts of the telling of Whitefield’s life were hashed out in a posh club near the Pall Mall, London.

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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.

Ian Clary on “Church History on the Ground”

November 9th, 2012 Posted in 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, Books, Church History

Rivers of Living Water: Celebrating 125…Dr. Haykin recently collaborated with Ian Clary on a history of the 125-year-old Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario, “Rivers of Living Water”: Celebrating 125 Years of Hughson Street Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario, 1887-2012. Ian wrote about his experience working on this project and the value of local church histories here. Be sure to check out his suggestions for both beginning and professional historians, along with his plea to churches, seminaries and other Christian institutions to publish histories regularly.

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

 

New Book Review: Walking With Giants: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man

August 31st, 2012 Posted in 20th Century, Books

Dr. Haykin has recently reviewed Walking With Giants: An Ordinary Man With Extraordinary Experiences, the autobiography of Elmer Towns. Find this review and others here on our 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.

The seminary and piety: a surrejoinder

August 10th, 2012 Posted in 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Current Affairs

If we define a faithful minister of the Word along the lines of Acts 6, a man devoted to the Word and prayer, it seems to me that in the twentieth century faithful orthodox seminaries have done fairly well in training men in one half of this equation: the Word. But what of the other? Well, I think many leaders in former generations expected these things to be caught by osmosis even though Jesus responded positively to the disciples’ request that he teach them how to pray. Spirituality needs to be “taught” and handed on.

And while all professors in a seminary need to approach their specific subjects with an answerable spiritual frame, it is not wrong for some to focus on spirituality. Given the fact that spirituality and spiritual formation are increasingly huge engagements for both our larger cultural “moment” and within the boundaries of the Church, it is not unrealistic to ask certain men to specialize in the praxis of spirituality and the history of biblical spirituality.

As an historian, I feel the latter is very important: during the course of the twentieth century for a variety of reasons many of those who loved the Scriptures as the inerrant Word of God and faithfully upheld biblical orthodoxy failed to pass on the rich piety of their forebears in the Reformation, Puritan, Pietist and early Evangelical traditions. And surely this is one of the reasons why certain communities within the broad stream of twentieth-century English-speaking Evangelicalism became enamoured of the Spirit and talked as if they were the first to discover him since the Pentecost: they looked around and saw a tradition that seemed to have little place for piety, experience, and dare I say it, rapture (no I am not talking about an eschatological item!). Incidentally, here is where a man whom Carl has been writing about in recent days, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is so helpful: his balance of Word and Spirit is admirable (re other matters Carl has raised about the Doctor, this is not the place to go into those, though I agree with Carl that the recent collection of essays on the Doctor is by and large a welcome addition to the books on that remarkable servant of God).

Maybe, I need to take up Carl’s offer and we can do a book together on this subject of the seminary and piety—and maybe Dr Lucas, if he is so inclined, could also be involved!

Money according to Marianne Farmingham

July 11th, 2012 Posted in 19th Century, 20th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Great Quotes

“Money…cannot, must not, ought not, to be the greatest thing to a writer” (Marianne Farmingham).

From her A Working Woman’s Life: An Autobiography (London: James Clarke, & Co., 1907), 275. Farmingham (1834–1909), a Baptist authoress, was a household name in many Victorian homes, and CH Spurgeon certainly regarded her as famous.

Honoring the Fundamentalists

July 3rd, 2012 Posted in 20th Century, Church History

The term “Fundamentalism,” for many in our culture a word with entirely negative associations, was birthed in the 1910s and 1920s in connection with a desire to affirm the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the face of the 19th- and early 20th-century liberal denial of various orthodox doctrines. As such, Fundamentalism points us to the important task that confronts the Church in every generation, namely, the vigorous assertion without compromise of such key truths as the Trinity, the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, his bodily incarnation and resurrection from the dead. A passion for Truth gripped the early Fundamentalists, and Evangelicals need to be thankful to God for those men and women who affirmed the Faith when so many professing Christian leaders were engaged in Esau-like compromise.

Alongside a passion for the Truth, early Fundamentalism was also shaped by a desire to know the reality of that text in Ephesians 5, where we read that Christ’s great work includes the sanctification and purification of the Church (verses 25–26). Early Fundamentalists were keenly aware that purity of doctrine was a key part of our Lord’s sanctifying and purifying work and that Christians cannot walk hand in hand with those who flagrantly deny the essentials of the Faith. In this connection, they were also desirous of heeding another related text, namely, that “pure and undefiled religion in the presence of God, even the Father, is this…to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). These desires—seeking purity of doctrine and church reform as well as living holy lives—should also be central to our Christianity.

Yet, as Fundamentalism pursued these passions, all too frequently it found itself getting sidelined in debates about tertiary issues and becoming a movement that fostered schism rather than reformation. At times it seemed to forget that theological orthodoxy in and by itself cannot revitalize Christian communities: the coals of orthodoxy are vital, but there must be the life-giving flame of the Spirit as well.

In recent days, though, it appears to this historian that Evangelicalism would like to conveniently forget the important role that Fundamentalism played in preserving the Faith in the early years of the twentieth century. Just as, up until very recently, the work of the British Empire’s Bomber Command was conveniently forgotten in the plaudits being handed out to those who made incredible sacrifices during world War II, so Fundamentalists have been conveniently put to one side and Evangelicals have sought to live as if they did not act as conduits of their Faith. But we cannot do this, and nor should we. We may not agree with all that Fundamentalism represented, but honor needs given where honor is due.

Biography of Caroline Holman, a desideratum

May 11th, 2012 Posted in 20th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Eminent Christians

One of the most remarkable Baptists of twentieth-century Ontario was a woman, Caroline Holman, the widow of C.J. Holman, a prominent Baptist lawyer. Her husband played an important role in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the 1920s, but died not long after. She lived into her nineties, dying in 1962. She was a staunch supporter of missions and prolific writer of Christian articles, and served as the first president of the Women’s Missionary Society, formed in 1926 during the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy as the former Women’s Baptist Home Missionary Society of Ontario West divided that year. She was one of the few people who publicly disagreed with T.T. Shields (1873–1955)—which she did in the early 1930s—and maintained his respect afterwards. See The Regular Baptist Call: A Testimony, 36, no.9 (September 1962), for a remembrance of her life and service. A biography of Mrs. Holman is a desideratum.

Going to San Francisco, Grace Slick, and finding Somebody to love (Jesus Christ)

December 1st, 2011 Posted in 20th Century, Music

Was I forty years too late when I finally got to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, when my wife and I went out there to celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and attend the annual ETS conference a week or so ago? Well, the providence of God is never too late!

Probably glad in some ways not to have gotten there at the height of those tumultuous years of the counter-culture (which is now mainstream!). It was fascinating to do San Francisco—including Haight-Ashbury, though to be honest, it was somewhat grungy. I guess I expected something like current-day Yorkville in Toronto, which I did do in the height of the sixties.

But experiencing Haight-Ashbury reminded me of the heartbeat/aching void of my generation, well summed up by the song popularized by San Francisco psychedelic rocker Grace Slick (though the song was actually written by her brother-in-law Darby Slick):

“When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies

“Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love.”

A good part of the truths that the mainstream culture of the 1960s pushed were indeed lies, sure to dry up all of the wellsprings of joy. But the truths of my generation, the counter-culture, were not a deep enough corrective. Like the culture they were protesting against, they simply did not go deep enough. What an indictment on a generation that was rooted in interiority. But there was the need of a Guide to navigate the depths of the human heart. And hey: in Jesus, Lord and Christ, I found that Guide and that Somebody Grace Slick urged me to find to love–and His love has proven to be the Sweetest of Joys and the Truth!