‘Andrew Fuller’ Category

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.

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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.

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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 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)

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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!

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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.

“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.

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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.

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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.  

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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 new book by Dr. Michael Haykin: Ardent Love for Jesus: Learning from the eighteenth-century Baptist revival

November 12th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians, Revivals

By Dustin Bruce

9781850492481Building on years of teaching experience, D.A. Carson is quoted at saying, “students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again.” Michael Haykin’s new book, Ardent Love for Jesus, is this concept translated into book form. Each chapter may be compared to having one’s ear to the door of a classroom, listening intently as Haykin delivers a passionate lecture on a favorite subject: a band of eighteenth-century Baptists whose pursuit of the Risen Lord changed their denomination and the world.

Haykin begins by setting the context of the Baptist revivals, establishing a complicated British history and the rise of hyper-Calvinism as the winds that cooled the piety of Baptist churches in Britain. Yet, with men like John Gill, who fought to preserve the ember of orthodoxy among Baptist ranks, the spark remained for a fresh awakening when the Spirit would blow and ignite Baptist churches once again.

This book is about that fire of revival experienced by eighteenth-century Baptist men and women and what it can teach us today.

Chapters include:

  1. ‘A very dunghill in society’: The Calvinistic Baptists and their need for revival
  2. ‘The Saviour calls’: The ministry and piety of Benjamin Francis and Anne Steele
  3. ‘A little band of brothers’: Friendship and revival in the life of John Ryland Jr.
  4. ‘I wish I had prayed more’: John Sutcliff and the Concert of Prayer for revival
  5. ‘A dull flint’: Andrew Fuller and theological reformation
  6. ‘What a soul’: The revival piety of Samuel Pearce
  7. ‘A wretched, poor and helpless worm’: Revival activism–the legacy of William Carey

Appendix: Eighteenth-century Baptists and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in revival

I encourage you to pick up this helpful volume and have your heart warmed in love for Jesus.

Available at Amazon and The Book Depository.

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

The choice of Moses: “the sweetest of all sweets”

November 11th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Eminent Christians, Great Quotes

By Michael A.G. Haykin

A text that I have long meditated upon and that has been profitable to my soul has been the description of Moses’ treasure in Hebrews 11:24–26. I never noticed until last night when I was perusing J.W. Morris, coll. and arr., Miscellaneous Pieces on Various Religious Subjects, Being the Last Remains of The Rev. Andrew Fuller (London: Wightman and Cramp, 1826) that Andrew Fuller preached a sermon on this very text entitled “The choice of Moses” (Miscellaneous Pieces on Various Religious Subjects, 293–297). Here is choice portion—very Edwardsean with the mention of “sweet”—from the sermon:

“The society of the people of God, though afflicted, reproached, and persecuted, exceeds all the pleasures of sin while they do last. It is delightful to cast in our lot with them; for the bond of their union is holy love, which is the sweetest of all sweets to a holy mind. If we have once tasted of this, every thing else will become comparatively insipid. How sweet a bond of union is the love of Christ!—How sweet is the fellowship of saints! Even when borne down with reproaches and afflictions, how sweet are the tears of sympathy!”

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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.

 

Audio for “Andrew Fuller & His Controversies” Now Online

October 15th, 2013 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians, Historians, Pastoral Ministry, Theology

By Steve Weaver

Audio of this year’s conference, Andrew Fuller & His Controversies, is now available online for free streaming or MP3 download. The conference, which was held on September 27-28, 2013, featured speakers such as Paul Helm, Mark Jones, Tom Nettles, Nathan Finn and other scholars. You may access the audio for the conference here. Audio of previous conferences is available by clicking on “Conference” on this website’s left sidebar. On the conference page, you may choose from previous conferences on the right sidebar. Most of these include the audio of all sessions for free streaming or MP3 download.

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Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and a 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 14.