Thursday, July 12, 2012

Andrew Fuller on seeing Baptists prosper

Andrew Fuller
Andrew Fuller is (1754-1815) one of my Baptist heroes. His personal life, theological convictions and missionary zeal have challenged and instructed me since I first learned about him over 30 years ago. Recently, my friend, Michael Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality and Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posted the following quote and brief commentary on Facebook. It is such timely wisdom, especially for those who live and serve in churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, that I gladly repost it here.

If we wish to see the Baptist denomination prosper, we must not expend our zeal so much in endeavouring to make men Baptists, as in labouring to make Baptists and others Christians.
-Andrew Fuller


Dr. Michael Haykin
Then Haykin offers the following observation:

And the same goes for being Reformed etc! I have increasingly little time for the debates about who or what is or is not truly Reformed. Much of it is activated by little more than what Fuller aptly called "a party spirit."

Fuller wrote the above words in a fugitive piece entitled "The Necessity of Seeking Those Things First Which Are of the First Importance". I am Baptist and Calvinistic: not ashamed of either. But first things first.


Amen. In a denomination where 60-70% of our members cannot be found, this is a good and timely reminder. Let's make it a matter of first priority to "make Baptists and others Christians."

6 comments:

donsands said...

I attend a REC local church, and yet still have my non-denom-Baptist leanings.

I have found that "the Word" is where we really all come together. And by Word, I simply mean Christ in His simplicity-fullness of who He is.

There are many distractions from Christ in the Church, and I see these distractions becoming less and less. Not in a "universal" way, but simply loving Christ first in our hearts, and admitting that we really don't love Him as we should, and yet loving Him still, with a genuine love.

I was thinking how Peter loved Jesus, maybe more than any Christian ever has. And yet, what a fixed up foolish disciple, and even Apostle.

Thanks for the good post.

R. Cofield said...

Framers of TS remove signatory list
Posted on July 14, 2012 by the editors of SBC Today

http://sbctoday.com/2012/07/14/framers-of-ts-remove-signatory-list/#more-8906

Fascinating....

gdc1510 said...

Tom,

Fuller seems to be held in high esteem in most Baptist circles. I've not made an in-depth survey of his theology.

William Rushton took Fuller to task in the 1831 "A Defense of Particular Redemption - Wherein the Doctrine of the Late Mr. Fuller Relative to the Atonement of Christ Is Tried by the Word of God".

Are you familiar with Rushton's work? I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Greg Coleman

Tom said...

Greg,

I read Rushton years ago and disagree with his assessment. Fuller's views on the atonement definitely changed over time but the question is did he give up particular redemption or penal substitution. I am convinced he did not, though he did try to incorporate dimensions of the governmental view of the atonement into his view toward the end of his life. Fuller held to the Dortian view of sufficient for all, efficient for the elect, but then--in later writings--added language of the atonement being "limited in application." His language has created no small amount of confusion about what he actually believed.

Blessings,
ta

gdc1510 said...

Tom,

Thanks for the information. Can you recommend a good, accurate biography on Fuller?

God bless,

Greg

Tom said...

Andrew Fuller, Model Pastor-Theologian by Paul Brewster (B&H).