‘Eminent Christians’ Category

James Davis Knowles on the character of Andrew Fuller

January 23rd, 2015 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Eminent Christians

By Michael A.G. Haykin

James Davis Knowles (1798–1838) was converted under the ministry of John Gano around the age of twenty-one and subsequently became a member of First Baptist Church, Providence, RI. A gift for preaching was evident and he was encouraged to study for the ministry. After pastoring for a number of years, he was appointed Professor of Pastoral Duties and Sacred Rhetoric at the Newton Theological Institution (today part of Andover Newton Theological Seminary). Here he found time to write a memoir of Roger Williams, having already tried his hand at a biography of Ann Judson. The same year that his memoir of Williams appeared, he also wrote an extensive study on the “Character of Andrew Fuller” (The American Quarterly Observer, 2 [1834], 110–127), which was prompted by the publication of a two-volume edition of Fuller’s works by the Boston Baptist publishers Ensign Lincoln (1779–1832) and Thomas Edmands (1781–1851).

Knowles observed that though his “education was small,” yet “the works of Fuller are justly entitled to rank with those of Owen and Edwards” (pages 115, 113). One of the reasons for this was, as Knowles asserted, the fact that “few theological writers have equaled him in plain, direct, robust force of understanding” (page 119). Another reason, in Knowles’ estimation, was Fuller’s “originality and vivacity of mind.” Yet, he was also a man marked by “an humble submission to the authority of Scripture” (page 120). And it is the latter, Knowles rightly believed, that made “Fuller a safe and valuable guide” in Christian theology (page 123). Finally, Knowles mentioned Fuller’s piety as a reason for the value of his books: his love for God and humanity “made him a reformer, without dogmatism, and a controversialist, without asperity” (page 126). It is a shame that Knowles did not live to write a full biography of Fuller—he died of smallpox in 1838.

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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.

Coming September 2015: Owen on the Christian Life by Matthew Barrett & Michael A.G. Haykin

January 19th, 2015 Posted in 17th Century, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians

Coming in September 2015 from Crossway. By Matthew Barrett and Michael A.G. Haykin: Owen on the Christian Life.

Owen on the Christian Life

Mini-Conference: “The Legacy of Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)”

January 14th, 2015 Posted in Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians

By Steve Weaver

Fuller Legacy Mini-Conference

In a few weeks, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies will host a mini-conference that will consider the legacy of Andrew Fuller. 2015 marks the bicentennial of Fuller’s death so it is appropriate The Andrew Fuller Center devote some time to assessing his legacy. As an added bonus, the conference date of February 6th is the 261st birthday of Fuller. The conference will be hosted on the third floor of the Legacy Hotel on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference is open to all students, faculty, and staff of the seminary and Boyce College.

Schedule:

9:00 – 9:20am – “Why Andrew Fuller?” with Michael A.G. Haykin

9:30 – 10:30am – “Fuller and the 19th Century Southern Baptists” with Greg Wills

11am – 12pm – “C.H. Spurgeon: a Fullerite?” with Steve Weaver

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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 3 and 15. You can read more from Steve at his personal website: Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian.

“Duties Derived from Doctrine”

January 8th, 2015 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

In a sermon entitled, “The Future Perfection of the Church,” Andrew Fuller unpacked his meditations on Ephesians 5:25-27

Christ—loved the church, and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.[1]

The very first sentence of his sermon is a perceptive statement about the relationship between apostolic doctrine and apostolic instruction, particularly in this case, as it relates to Christian marriage.  Fuller observed that moral imperatives are always rooted in and grow out of redemptive indicatives.  Here is part of his introduction:

It is a distinguishing feature in the apostolic writings, that motives to the most ordinary duties are derived from the doctrine of the cross.  Who but an apostle would have thought of enforcing affection in a husband to a wife from the love of Christ to his church?  We are, undoubtedly, hereby taught to act, in the common affairs of life, from Christian principle; and I am inclined to think that our personal Christianity is more manifest in this way than in any other.  It is not by a holiness put on on religious occasions, as we put on our Lord’s-day dress, that we shall prove ourselves to be Christians; but by that which is habitual, and which, without our so much as designing it, will spontaneously appear in our language and behaviour. If the apostle’s heart had not been full of Christ, he would have thought of other motives than this; but this, being uppermost, presented itself on all occasions. We may be thankful that it was so on this, especially; for we are hereby furnished with a most interesting and affecting view of the salvation of sinners—a salvation originating in the love of Christ, and terminating in their being presented to him without spot, and blameless.[2]


[1]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 243.

[2]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 243-44.

“Let Your Time Be Spent On Him”: A Christmas Sermon by George Whitefield

December 18th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

In a Christmas sermon on Matthew 1:21, called “The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of all Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas,” George Whitefield (1714-1770) provided some suggestions “for the true keeping of that time of Christmas.”  He advised spending time reading, praying, and in religious conversation:

What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose, than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read, that the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent.  This, this is an history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about:  and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us to prayer, that we might have an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ; that the blood which he spilt upon mount Calvary, and his death and crucifixion, might make an atonement for our sins, that we might be made holy; that we might be enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, even the Lord Jesus Christ; that we may throw away the heavy yoke of sin, and put on the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, my brethren, these things call for prayer, and for earnest prayer too; and O do be earnest with God, that you may have an interest in this Redeemer, and that you may put on his righteousness, so that you may not come before him in your filthy rags, nor be found not having on the wedding garment.  O do not, I beseech you, trust unto yourselves for justification; you cannot, indeed, you cannot be justified by the works of the law.  I entreat that your time may be thus spent; and if you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth:  let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love:  O tell, tell to each other, what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another, how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay, and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ; there, my brethren, is no slipping; other conversation, by often repeating, you become fully acquainted with, but of Christ there is always something new to raise your thoughts; you can never want matter when the love of the Lord Jesus Chris is the subject:  then let Jesus be the subject, my brethren, of all your conversation.

Let your time be spent on him:  O this, this is an employ, which if you belong to Jesus, will last you to all eternity.  Let others enjoy their cards, their dice, and gaming hours; do you, my brethren, let your time be spent in reading, praying, and religious conversations.  Which will stand the trial best at the last day?  Which do you think will bring most comfort, most peace, in a dying hour?  O live and spend your time now, as you will wish to have done, when you come to die.

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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.

New Bitesize Biography on George Whitefield by Michael Haykin

December 16th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Books, Church History, Eminent Christians, Revivals

By Dustin Bruce

Today, December 16th, 2014, marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the great eighteenth century revivalist George Whitefield. Born at the Bell Inn in Gloucester in 1714, Whitefield shaped the trans-Atlantic British community through his participation in what came to be known as The Great Awakening.

In celebration of this anniversary, a number of works on Whitefield have come out, including a new critical work by Dr. Thomas S. Kidd of Baylor. Making a unique contribution to Whitefield literature is a new work by Fuller Center Director, Dr. Michael Haykin.

BB-George-Whitefield

Haykin has recently released a new work in an ongoing Evangelical Press series, entitled Bitesize Biographies: George Whitefield. In the work, Haykin captures the key facets of Whitefield’s life and theology through nine brief chapters of edifying material drawn from years of study. He summarizes his book this way,

So, after outlining the era in which Whitefield lived and ministered in chapter 2 and giving an overview of Whitefield’s life and ministry in chapter 3, the next five chapters look at five key areas of his ministry: his passion for preaching the gospel, his emphasis on the new birth and justification by faith alone, his defence of a biblical understanding of holiness especially in contrast to John Wesley’s view of Christian perfection, his commitment to Calvinism and its distinctive spirituality, and finally the example of his impact upon one denominational grouping, the Baptists.

For a rich and accessible biography of Whitefield, I heartily recommend picking up a copy of Haykin’s work. There is no better time than the 300-year anniversary of Whitefield’s birth to learn about his remarkable contribution to Evangelical life and spirituality.

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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.

“Seek it at the Fountain-Head”

December 4th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Andrew Fuller, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

In a sermon entitled, “On an Intimate and Practical Acquaintance with the Word of God,” Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) unfolded the bibliocentric piety demonstrated in Ezra 7:10—“Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Fuller observed four features of Ezra’s character, which Fuller highly commended for Christian’s to imitate.  Here is what he gleaned from one verse:

  1.  SEEK THE LAW, or will, of God
    1. Seek it.
    2. Seek it at the fountain-head.
    3. Seek the will of God in every part of the Bible.
    4. Seek it perseveringly.
  2. PREPARE YOUR HEART to seek the law of the Lord
  3. KEEP THE LAW.
    1. Dread nothing more than recommending that to your people to which you do not attend yourself.
    2. More is expected from you than from others.
    3. You will attend to practical preaching.
    4. Attend not only to such duties as fall under the eye of man, but walk with God—in your family, and in your closet.
  4. TEACH in Israel the statutes and judgments of God.
    1. Let Christ and his apostles be your examples.
    2. Give every part of the truth its due proportion.
    3. Dare to teach unwelcome truths.
    4. Give Scriptural proof of what you teach.
    5. Consider yourself as standing engaged to teach all that hear you—rich and poor, young and old, godly and ungodly.
    6. Teach privately as well as publicly.[1]

Under the first point, Fuller masterfully contended for seeking the will of God in the Bible alone:

Seek it at the fountain-head.—You feel, I doubt not, a great esteem for many of your brethren now living, and admire the writings of some who are now no more; and you will read their productions with attention and pleasure. But whatever excellence your brethren possess, it is all borrowed; and it is mingled with error. Learn your religion from the Bible. Let that be your decisive rule. Adopt not a body of sentiments, or even a single sentiment, solely on the authority of any man—however great, however respected. Dare to think for yourself. Human compositions are fallible. But the Scriptures were written by men who wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Human writings on religion resemble preaching—they are useful only so far as they illustrate the Scriptures, and induce us to search them for ourselves.[2]


[1]Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 483-486.

[2]The Complete Works, 1: 483.

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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.

Audio for “George Whitefield and the Great Awakening” Conference at West Toronto Baptist Church

November 21st, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians, Historians, Revivals

By Ian Hugh Clary
Galotti Haykin Clary

Photo: Pastor Justin Galotti, Michael Haykin, and Ian Clary (Photo credit: Elisha Galotti)

On November 15, 2014, West Toronto Baptist Church was happy to join in on international Whitefield celebrations. This year marks the tercentenary of Whitefield’s birth, and it was the church’s privilege to co-host a conference with the Andrew Fuller Center over the course of a Saturday morning. Michael Haykin was the special speaker, while I preached a sermon by the Grand Itinerant on Sunday morning.

Below you can find Dr. Haykin’s two lectures and the sermon I preached.

Lecture 1 – Background to the Great Awakening (Michael Haykin)

Lecture 2 – George Whitefield’s Life (Michael Haykin)

Sermon – “The Marks of True Conversion: Matthew 18:3” (Ian Clary)

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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 lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

Judson’s Ground of Self-Denial

November 20th, 2014 Posted in 19th Century, Baptist Life & Thought, Biblical Spirituality, Church History, Eminent Christians

By Evan D. Burns

On May 10, 1836, Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) preached his only English sermon in Burma; it was for the ordination of the missionary printer, S. M. Osgood (1807-1875).  This lengthy sermon is a definitive presentation of the inherent relationship in Judson’s spirituality between the example of Christ and Christian minister’s mandatory self-denial in imitation of Christ.  Preaching from John 10:1-18 about Christ as the Good Shepherd, Judson began by saying that though Christ is the “Exemplar” of all his people, he is especially the “Exemplar” of his “subordinate shepherds.”  He urged Osgood to “look continually to the chief Shepherd” for emulation.  First, Judson instructed, the minister ought to imitate Christ’s wholesale denial of worldly desires.  Christ gave up his life for the good of his flock, and in the language of disinterested benevolence, Judson said the minister ought to imitate Christ by surrendering all worldly ambitions, pleasures, and gains “that he may, by all means, save some.”  Second, Judson taught that the minister ought to imitate Christ by showing affection and brotherly love to the flock.  Third, Judson said the chief duty of a minister in imitation of Christ is to indiscriminately call out Christ’s elect; then once they come in through the universal preaching of the gospel, the minister ought to make disciples through teaching them to observe the commands of Christ, of which the minister ought to be the greatest example of obedience.

Though the minister’s chief duty should be doing good, Judson went on to elaborate on the dominant motivation of such duty.  He explained that Christ’s “supreme regard to his Father’s will” and “the love of God” were the controlling themes of Christ’s life.  Judson tied Christ’s example of supreme love to the Father and a supreme desire to please the Father to the responsibility of the minister to esteem the will of God above all other good things.  He said no good works of self-denial or charity “are truly estimable, but just so far as they spring from regard to the will of God.  All true virtue has its root in the love of God.  Every holy affection looks beyond self . . . and finds its resting place in God alone.”  Then he went on to wax eloquent about God’s God-centeredness and righteous love for himself above everything else.  In light of God’s supreme happiness in God, Judson said it was fitting that Christ would “have supreme regard to the will of the Father,” greater than his regard for perishing souls.  Therefore, every minister must submit to the will of God.  In light of Christ’s example of supreme submission to the infinitely wise and loving will of the Father, the most God-centered Being in the universe, Judson issued a decisive verdict for his spirituality of self-denial:  “On this ground we rest the doctrine of self-denial, renunciation of self-interest, abandonment of self.  Still further, even our compassion for souls and our zeal for their salvation must be kept in subordination to the supreme will of God.”[1]  In his self-denying imitation of Christ, “Judson was indeed a Gethsemane soul.”[2]


[1]Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, D.D., vol. 2 (Boston: Phillips, Samson and Company, 1853), 486-94.

[2]John Brush, “The Magnetism of Adoniram Judson,” Andover Newton Quarterly 2, no. 3 (January 1, 1962): 3.

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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.

George Whitefield Tercentenary Celebration in Toronto this Weekend

November 13th, 2014 Posted in 18th Century, Church History, Conferences, Eminent Christians, Historians, Revivals, Theology

By Steve Weaver

Whitefield and the Great Awakening copy

West Toronto Baptist Church celebrates the life and work of the eighteenth century evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770). Join us on November 15, 2014, as we learn from Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who will deliver two lectures on Whitefield and the Great Awakening. The conference is free of charge and will include a book table hosted by Crux Books.

Itinerary

Registration will begin on Saturday at 9:00am and Dr. Haykin will give his first lecture at 9:30. There will be a coffee break at 10:30am, and the second lecture will commence at 11:00am. At 12:00pm there will be a half an hour Q & A.

Also, please join us Sunday at 10:45am for Lord’s Day worship where Ian Clary will deliver a sermon based on Whitefield’s sermon on the “new birth.”

Location

West Toronto Baptist Church – 3049 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON.

Originally posted at http://wtbaptist.com/whitefield/

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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 3 and 15. You can read more from Steve at his personal website: Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian.