‘Andrew Fuller’ Category

“The Sum of All These Rewards”

April 24th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Eminent Christians, Great Quotes

By Evan D. Burns

In “Love to God and Divine Things for Their Own Excellency,” Andrew Fuller muses on the pleasures of loving and pursuing God. In very Edwardsean language, Fuller upholds the duty of delighting in God as the soul’s highest joy.

The gospel undoubtedly holds up rewards to stimulate us to duty, rewards addressed to our emulation and thirst of happiness; and if the deists on this account reproach it as a selfish theory, I have no doubt but their reproach is groundless. The gospel ought not to be denominated a selfish theory because it inculcates a regard to ourselves. If, however, it could be proved that we are there taught so to pursue our own interest as that the glory of God shall not be regarded as a supreme, but as a subordinate end, the charge were just. But the rewards contained in the gospel convey no such idea as this, for the following plain reason:—The sum of all these rewards is God himself. Grace and glory are only God’s communications of himself. Hence it follows that such rewards, properly pursued, instead of excluding supreme love to God for what he is in himself, necessarily imply it. Without such a love, as hath been already observed, it is impossible in any right manner to seek either his approbation or blessing.[1]


[1]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 2: Controversial Publications, ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 728.

_______________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

 

“Andrew Fuller’s Calvinist soteriology: a brief response to Emir Caner”

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History, Current Affairs, Eminent Christians, Historians, Missions

By Michael A.G. Haykin

It was extremely gratifying to see Andrew Fuller (1754–1815) cited as a vital theologian at the onset of the modern missionary movement in Dr. Emir Caner’s recent piece on “Historical Southern Baptist Soteriology” that appeared on the SBC Today website. Usually when Baptists are considered in this regard, the name of William Carey (1761–1834) alone receives mention, and Fuller, who was the theological muscle behind Carey, is forgotten. There were, however, some surprising aspects to Caner’s treatment of Fuller, especially as it relates to Fuller’s Calvinist soteriology. According to the article, Fuller really cannot be considered a Calvinist (something that, by the way, would warm the cockles of the hearts of hyper-Calvinist critics of Fuller like William Gadsby). By 1801, Caner reckons that Fuller had given up the concept of particular redemption for a general redemption, affirmed that “faith is not a gift from God,” and rejected “Total Depravity as articulated by some of his contemporary High [that is, hyper-] Calvinists.”

To read my response in its entirety, please download the full PDF here.

_______________

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.

 

“The Children of the Resurrection”

April 17th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Great Quotes

By Evan D. Burns

In “The Magnitude of the Heavenly Inheritance,” Andrew Fuller exposited Romans 8:18-23 on the hope of resurrection.  He made the following three main points:

I. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us, that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with it.

II. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us at the resurrection, that its influence extends to the whole creation.

III. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us at the resurrection, that those Christians who have possessed the highest enjoyments in this world were not satisfied with them, but groaned within themselves, waiting for the possession of it.

And then he concluded his sermon with this great meditation on the joy and anticipation of the Christian’s future resurrection:

The terms by which the resurrection of believers is expressed, namely, “the adoption,” and “the redemption of our body,” serve to heighten our ideas of the glorious event…..  From the day they received the Saviour, they received power to become the sons of God; the Lord Almighty, as by a judicial act and deed, put them among his children; but still, the body being doomed to die because of sin, till this dishonour is wiped away there is something wanting to complete the execution of the deed. Our vile body must be changed, and fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body, ere we can be actually and fully introduced into the heavenly family. We must put on immortality, before we shall be fit company for immortals. We must be made equal to the angels, ere we can associate with angels. Finally, To be completely “the children of God,” we must be “the children of the resurrection.”

Similar observations might be made on the term redemption, as here applied to the resurrection of the body. This term as familiarized to Christians by the apostolic writings. They had “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins;” but here the word is used in a new sense, denoting the last act of deliverance, even that of the body, from under the thraldom of death and the imprisonment of the grave. It is in reference to this last act of deliverance that Christ is said to be “made unto us—redemption.”  The redemption of our souls by his blood preceded his being made unto us wisdom, or righteousness, or sanctification; but the redemption of our body, as being the last act of deliverance, succeeds them. The body is a part of Christ’s purchase as really as the soul. It is on this principle that the Corinthians were dissuaded from polluting it by fornication: “Ye are not your own, but bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The resurrection of the body, therefore, is the recovery of the last part of the Redeemer’s purchase, signified by that expressive sentence, so often repeated, “I will raise it up at the last day.”

This is the glory which shall be revealed in us, with which the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared: this is the great crisis of creation, to which all that precedes it tends, as to its last end; and the result to which believers, who have possessed the richest communications of grace in this life, look with earnest expectation.[1]


[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 340-41.

_______________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

 

Fuller on Reading the Scriptures

February 27th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

Andrew Fuller carefully explained the usefulness and spiritual benefit of prayerfully reading the Scriptures, as opposed to reading commentaries in substitution of meditation.  He said that reading assists prayer, and prayer assists reading.  Here are some suggestions he gives for reading the Bible prayerfully:[1]

  • Read Scripture prayerfully at set times each day, preferably in the mornings.
  • Let reading the Scriptures precede prayer, and then let prayer spur on more reading.
  • Maintain a tender, humble, holy frame of mind.
  • Pause, think, pray, and apply to your meditations to your daily life.
  • Only use commentators/expositors when you cannot resolve a difficult issue, and that only after thinking hard by yourself.
  • Writing down interesting thoughts fixes them to memory.

[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 3: Expositions—Miscellaneous, ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 788.

_______________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

Answering My Great Question about “The Great Question Answered”

February 19th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians, Historians

By Nathan A. Finn

You may or may not know that Andrew Fuller wrote a wildly popular gospel tract titled The Great Question Answered. It was republished numerous times by multiple publishers and remained enormously popular in both Britain and the USA into the mid-nineteenth century. It is available in volume three of the “Sprinkle Edition” of The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller (pp. 540–549). The tract is also available on several websites on the internet, but be careful not to confuse it with the pro-slavery treatise by James Sloan, which was published in 1857 and is also widely available online.

I am editing the volume on Strictures on Sandemanianism for the forthcoming critical edition of The Works of Andrew Fuller. Several months ago, I began trying to locate the first publication of The Great Question Answered because it briefly references the Sandemanian view of faith. I knew it was published during the decade between 1801, when Fuller included an appendix on Sandemanianism in the revised edition of The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, and before the publication of Strictures on Sandemanianism in 1810. But the tract “went viral” so quickly and was republished so often it was difficult to find the original publication. I talked to Michael Haykin about my quest, and though he did not know the answer to my query, he helped me think through ways to track down the first publication. Last week, my quest came to an end. I have found the Holy Grail. Let me tell you how it happened.

In his memoir of his father, found in volume one of the Sprinkle Edition, Andrew Gunton Fuller suggested the tract was first published in 1806 (p. 91). But I knew that could not be the case because an extensive library holdings search last fall revealed that several libraries in both England and North America owned copies of the tract from multiple publishers dating to 1805. In his book The Forgotten Heritage: The Great Lineage of Baptist Preaching (Mercer University Press, 1986), Thomas McKibben cited an edition of The Great Question Answered published in London by William Button and Sons in 1803 (p. 49). That was the earliest date I could find.

In 1818, John Ryland Jr. published a biography of his close friend Fuller titled The Work of Faith, the Labour of Love, and the Patience of Hope, illustrated; In the Life and Death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller. In the biography, Ryland provided a list of Fuller’s published works, including magazine articles. Ryland dated the initial publication of The Great Question Answered to 1803 in The Missionary Magazine (p. 133). I had previously seen one reference to the tract appearing in the “Edinburgh Missionary Magazine,” but could not find anything. Ryland was a great help because the periodical, though published in Edinburgh, was simply titled The Missionary Magazine—I had been sniffing down the wrong trail. In God’s providence, some volumes of The Missionary Magazine are available via Google Books—including the 1803 volume.

As it turns out, The Great Question Answered was indeed published first in The Missionary Magazine in two parts. Part One appeared in the February 21, 1803 issue, on pages 59–65. Part Two was published the following month in the March 21, 1803 issue, on pages 110–16. The two parts were then combined into a single tract that was likely first published in one part by William Button and Sons in London later in 1803. From there, it was first published in America in both Boston and Maine as early as 1805.

I do know a bit about the reception history after 1805, though there are many stones left to un-turn. As early as 1811, a Gaelic edition was published in Edinburgh. The Great Question Answered was included in the different collected editions of Fuller’s published works that began appearing as early as 1820. Also by 1820, The Great Question Answered was being published by the Baptist General Tract Society in England. In 1821, a certain Dr. Henderson translated the tract into Swedish and Russian and began distributing it through tract societies formed for those nations. In 1838, the tract was included in The Baptist Manual published by the American Baptist Publication Society. The American Tract Society was publishing the tract by 1850. Throughout the American Civil War, The Great Question Answered was distributed to Confederate soldiers by a publisher in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As this brief survey makes clear, The Great Question Answered was a popular gospel tract during the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century. During the years between 1803 and 1865, it was published on at least two different continents in at least four different languages—probably more. But the initial publication was in two parts in The Missionary Magazine in February and March of 1803. While there is still much I do not know about the reception history of this tract, my great question has been answered about The Great Question Answered. All is now right with the world.

____________________

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 fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

Why Read Andrew Fuller?

February 13th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Books, Eminent Christians, Historians, Theology

By Evan D. Burns

A number of years ago I started reading Andrew Fuller’s writings.  I have come to admire and respect this great man of God who has not shared the same spotlight as other famous theologians.  But, thanks to the upcoming critical edition of Fuller’s published and unpublished works, Fuller’s theology and spirituality will hopefully continue to gain more influence.  I have discussed my appreciation of Fuller here, and in honor of Fuller’s 260th birthday last week, below are a few reasons (and suggested reading) that I commend his evangelical piety:

  • His cross-centered instinct (e.g., God’s Approbation of Labours Necessary for the Hope of Success;  The Common Salvation)
  • His Scripture-saturation (e.g., The Nature and Importance of an Intimate Knowledge of Divine Truth;  On an Intimate and Practical Acquaintance with the Word of God)
  • His missionary spirituality (e.g., The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation;  The Promise of the Spirit)
  • His prayerfulness and hunger for revival (e.g., Causes and Declension of Religion and Means of Revival)
  • His heavenly-mindedness (e.g., “The Blessedness of the Dead Who Die in the Lord”)
  • His Trinitarianism (e.g., “On the Trinity,” Letters of Systematic Divinity)

____________________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

Happy Andrew Fuller Day! Celebrating Andrew Fuller’s 260th birthday

February 6th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Eminent Christians

By Michael A.G. Haykin

9781850492481

Last year, Bryntirion Press published my Ardent love to Jesus: English Baptists and the experience of revival in the long eighteenth century. The title comes from a phrase in one of the writings of Benjamin Francis, the friend of Andrew Fuller. Imagine my surprise recently when, reading a section of Fuller’s rebuttal of Joseph Priestley, I came across his statement that “the whole Epistle to the Hebrews breathes an ardent love to Christ” (Works, II, 190). I dearly wish I would have remembered this passage as I could have cited this statement in my book as further evidence of the Christocentric piety of the 18th century Baptists.

Andrew FullerThis is one of the key reasons I love Fuller and read him and recommend him: his writings are full of an ardent love to our Lord Christ. If you would see this in a very short compass: read his sermon on “The Choice of Moses” (Works, I, 426–428) today, a sermon preached on one of my favorite texts, Hebrews 11:24–26. And so, today, on Fuller’s 260th birthday, we thank God for the gift of this pastor-theologian to the Church.

PS Last year, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies also began a tradition of a few friends of the Center celebrating Fuller’s birthday by having a dinner and birthday cake on February 6 (we had it at the Bristol Bar & Grille on Bardstown Road and Steve Weaver brought the cake) in honor of Fuller. Because I cannot travel at present, we are going to postpone our celebration till Friday, April 25 (which is actually the birthday of Oliver Cromwell! a fellow East Anglian to Fuller): more details to follow!

____________________
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.

“Take not thy Holy Spirit from me”

January 9th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller

By Evan D. Burns

In the fourth letter of “Strictures on Some of the Leading Sentiments of Mr. R. Robinson,” Andrew Fuller writes “on the necessity of the Holy Spirit for the right understanding and believing the Holy Scriptures.”  He offers three propositions for the necessity of the Spirit in illumination: “1. That holy dispositions are necessary, in order to the admission of Scripture truth.  2. That men by nature have no such disposition.  3. That the work of the Holy Spirit is necessary to produce it.”[1]

On this third point, Fuller solemnly warns us not to be overconfident in our common sense and discerning knowledge.  The knowledge of the holy is a sacred gift given by the Spirit, the truth of which should compel us to plead for more of the Spirit’s illuminating work.

A man may read his Bible, and be mightily pleased with himself for the discoveries he makes by the mere dint of common sense; but if he have no other perception, with all his ingenuity he will be blind to its real glory. Our own times furnish us with too many exemplifications. Let us tremble, lest we grieve the Holy Spirit by undervaluing his influences. If those who think they can do without the Spirit were left to their own ingenuity, He would be just, nor could they complain. I wish our character be not drawn in that of the Laodiceans: “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; but knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” May we hearken to the counsel given to that deluded people, and apply to the true source of all spiritual light, for “eye-salve that we may see.” They were wonderfully enamoured with their discernment: but Christ pronounced them blind. They had applied to the wrong source for light. If they wished for knowledge worth obtaining, they must apply to him for it. Oh that we had a heart to hearken to this counsel!…  All I mean to affirm is, that there are truths in the Holy Scriptures—truths, too, which constitute the essence and glory of the gospel-truths the discernment and belief of which form the essence of true religion, which cannot be admitted without an answerable disposition; and that this disposition must be produced by the Holy Spirit.  Whoever may think lightly of his influences, and fondly imagine they can do without them, may it be your prayer and mine—“Take not thy Holy Spirit from me”—“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”[2]


[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 3: Expositions—Miscellaneous, ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 602.

[2] Fuller, Works, III, 604.

____________________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

“A Summary of the Gospel”

December 24th, 2013 Posted in 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Great Quotes

By Evan D. Burns

In the third letter of “Letters on Systematic Divinity”, Andrew Fuller pondered the miracle of Christ’s Incarnation and what it means for the Word to be made flesh and dwell among us.  He made three observations from 1 John 1:1-3 about the God-Man, Jesus Christ:

What is it that is denominated the great mystery of godliness? Is it not that “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory?” It is this that the apostle John introduces at the beginning of his gospel under the name of “the Word:” “The Word was with God, and was God; by whom all things were made, and who was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” It is this upon which he dwells in the introduction of his First Epistle….  Christ is here described, 1. As to what he was in his pre-incarnate state; namely, as that which was from the beginning, the word of life, and that eternal life which was with the Father. 2. As to what he became by his incarnation: he was so manifested that his disciples could see him, and look on him, and handle him; and thus be qualified to bear witness of him, and to show unto others that eternal life that was with the Father. 3. As having opened a way in which those who believed in him were admitted to fellowship with God, and with him, and were commissioned to invite others to partake with them. I have long considered this passage as a decisive proof of the Divinity of Christ, and as a summary of the gospel.[1]


[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 692.

____________________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.

 

“That He Might Find Access To Their Souls”

November 25th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Eminent Christians, Great Quotes

By Evan D. Burns

In a sermon delivered at the Old Jewry Chapel, London, on December 27, 1797, Andrew Fuller unpacked the implications of soul prosperity from the book of 3 John:  “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).  Fuller’s sermon demonstrates his uncommon ability to wring out of a simple text every drop of biblical import and implication.  Outlined here are his observations of the prosperous soul:

What then are those marks of a prosperous soul which it behoves us to aspire after?

1)   A prosperous souls is one in whom the truth dwells, and dwells richly.

2)   The prosperous soul is a soul where the doctrinal and the practical parts of religion bear lovely proportion and are united.

3)   The prosperous soul is a soul in which is united a happy mixture of the retired and the active—a happy attention to the duties of retirement mingled with an equal attention to the duties of active life.

4)   The prosperous soul may be known by this, that it is accompanied by a good degree of public spirit, and largeness of heart.

5)   The prosperous soul is dispossessed of an ambitious spirit—it is meek and lowly.

The standard which prosperity of soul affords to our safety in prosperity of other kinds [is]:

1)   That prosperity of soul makes prosperity of other kind safe.

2)   With prosperity of soul, the general good is promoted.[1]

Fuller’s concluding appeal is for his hearers to be prosperous in soul for the sake of being evangelical in action.  He sees mercy ministry as the door that opens the soul to prosper with the balm of the gospel.

To this I may add, that the relieving of men’s bodies to get access to their minds is a primitive and an excellent practice. The Son of God himself—and who can doubt that he had access wherever he pleased?—has set us the example; he went among the poor, the blind, the lame, the diseased. He mingled himself with them, and healed their bodies, that he might find access to their souls. The Almighty God, in human nature, would not overturn the laws of humanity; his desire was to establish and sanctify them. Let us operate by a system he himself has established, and do good to the bodies of men with a view to obtain access to their minds, thus relieving the temporal wants of the afflicted poor, and administering the balm of consolation unto the wounded spirit.[2]


[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 405-08.

[2]The Complete Works, 1:409.  

_______________________________

Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.