Michael Haykin responds to Mark Jones’ recent post “‘A Plea for Realism’: Are Presbyterians Christians?”

Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin
Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin

Dr. Michael Haykin writes, in a post titled, “Once more baptism and communion”:

I read my friend Mark Jones’ post “A Plea for Realism”: Are Presbyterians Christians? and was surprised by a number of things in this piece. To imply that Presbyterians, due to their ecclesiology, are less prone to sectarianism than Baptists is a surprising opener. Both Scottish and North American Presbyterian history (the latter especially since the 1920s) seems to tell a very different tale.

 

Ian Clary
Ian Clary

Then, I am not sure exactly what my dear friend Ian Clary said in his paper on Andrew Fuller at last year’s SBTS conference (you may listen to the audio here). But to imply, as Mark does, that Fuller’s baptismal theology meant that he was sectarian and lacked catholicity implies a complete misunderstanding of Fuller’s heart. I have written a study of the friendship of this closed communion, closed membership Baptist with John Ryland, an open communionist and open membership Baptist of the ilk of John Bunyan: it is absolutely remarkable that Fuller could hold deep convictions about this issue, but have as his best friend one who disagreed totally with him on these matters (they did agree on the subjects of baptism). Here we see true catholicity in action.

 

Andrew Fuller
Andrew Fuller

Fuller never believed that he and his fellow Calvinistic Baptists were the only Christians in Britain–witness his love for men like John Newton, William Wilberforce and John Berridge. In such a context, his strong convictions regarding the proper recipients of the Lord’s Supper bespeak a rich catholicity.

 

Much more could be said, but in fine: I am constrained to affirm with Fuller that the New Testament knows of only believer’s baptism (as did the Ancient Church largely up until the fifth century), and that I am prepared to stand with Fuller regarding his Eucharistic convictions, yet (as anyone who knows me will affirm), I am not interested in the slightest in a sectarian Christianity. I believe in the one holy catholic apostolic church—as did Fuller—filled with more than Baptists!

One Reply to “Michael Haykin responds to Mark Jones’ recent post “‘A Plea for Realism’: Are Presbyterians Christians?””

  1. I believe the lack of communion should be seen as a kind of discipline on paedo-baptists. They should see the corruption of their denominations as evidence of their misguided ecclesiology. It does not preserve and protect the gospel like Baptist ecclesiology does. I have no doubt that many of them are brothers but we cannot assume that by their previous membership and to allow them in membership with us will bring the eventual ambiguity of the Christianity of our own members leading to an agreement with a false gospel (See PCUSA etc).

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