“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,” Proverbs 27:17 tells us. God uses Christian friendships to help His children grow in grace and stay true to Christ. But our twenty-first-century Western culture values individualism, busyness, and selfishness—qualities that do not encourage deep, long-lasting, satisfying friendships. The authors guide us through a practical survey of biblical and historical friendships, drawing principles from them that will aid us in forming our own biblical friendships that will sharpen us for our Christian journey in a world that is no friend to grace.
“This booklet is needed in the Christian world as people relate to phones and iPads but increasingly less to others. Here is an accessible, reader-friendly, ‘one-stop’ treatment of the Bible’s encouragement to form and sustain rich friendships. It is lucid but not simplistic, judicious but not obscure, and convicting but not shrill.”
— Geoff Thomas, pastor, Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales
The gravity of this subject has prompted The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies to take for its conference theme this coming September 15–16, 2015, the matter of persecution in the history of the Church. Do join us as we reflect about this subject from both biblical and historical vantage-points, and spend time in prayer for the persecuted church. There is also a pre-conference round-table discussion on “Martyrdom in the Ancient Church: reality and fiction” on Monday evening, September 14, which will be co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Christian Studies. A 3-hour credit hybrid course attached to the conference with classes during the day on Monday, September 14, is also being offered.
We are pleased to announce the conference theme for this year’s conference is Persecution and the Church. We believe this is a timely topic as the church is experiencing persecution globally. The topic will be approached from biblical, theological, and historical perspectives. The conference will be held on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on September 15-16, 2015.
[As far as I know, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin is the only Reformed Baptist contributing to this book. He wrote chapter one on “Some Historic Roots of Congregationalism”, which can be read here and at the bottom of the post.]
Mark Dever (Editor), Jonathan Leeman (Editor), Andrew M. Davis (Contributor), John S. Hammett (Contributor), Michael A. G. Haykin (Contributor), Benjamin L Merkle (Contributor), Thomas R. Schreiner (Contributor), Kirk Wellum (Contributor), Stephen J. Wellum (Contributor), Thomas White (Contributor), Shawn Wright (Contributor)
Ours is an anti-polity age, perhaps more than any other time in the history of the church. Yet polity remains as important now as it was in the New Testament.
What then is a right or biblical polity? The contributors to this volume make an exegetical and theological case for a Baptist polity. Right polity, they argue, is congregationalism, elder leadership, diaconal service, regenerate church membership, church discipline, and a Baptist approach to the ordinances.
Each section explores the pastoral applications of these arguments. How do congregationalism and elder leadership work together? When should a church practice church discipline? How can one church work with another in matters of membership and discipline?
To be read sequentially or used as a reference guide, Baptist Foundations provides a contemporary treatment of Baptist church government and structures, the first of its kind in decades.
…After sharing his story of how he came to study Patristics at Wycliffe College in Toronto, he fields a number of questions regarding the how and why of early church study. Below is a summary of Dr. Haykin’s thoughts which the aspiring scholar might find invaluable.
Why study the fathers no matter what field you are in?
As Christians we are united to believers across time based upon the teachings of Christ and the apostles. We believe in a Catholic Christianity. The Trinitarian and Christological thought of the earliest theologians available to us through their writings are the bedrock of our faith.
Where do I start if I am interested in becoming more familiar with the church fathers?
Is there work still to be done in the church fathers?
Absolutely! There remain unexhausted topics even within the major historical figures. Dr. Haykin believes the area of reception history in certain ancient theologians could benefit from more attention.
Dr. Michael Haykin – Why Read the Church Fathers (audio)
When [Baptist historian Albert Henry Newman (1852–1933)] comes to the sub-section [in his edited volume, A Century of Baptist Achievement (Philadelphia, 1901)] entitled “Baptists and the Evangelical Revival,” Newman began by noting the different ways in which Baptists responded to the “enthusiastic evangelism of Wesley and Whitefield” (p.13). It was Andrew Fuller, Newman then asserted, “more than to any other individual, that restoration of the Particular Baptist body to its original evangelical position was chiefly due” (p.13).
This is a large claim—but, give due recognition to other factors behind the revitalization of the English Baptist cause—Newman was right and equally correct to say that through Fuller’s “great activity as a preacher and writer, multitudes were brought to see the consistency between a true preaching of the doctrines of grace and the most earnest efforts for the salvation of sinners” (p.13). He went to note that Fuller’s significance as a Christian thinker and activist resides not solely in what he did for the modern missionary movement, but also for what his writings meant for the Baptist community in the British Isles: “The Baptist cause in Great Britain was by Fuller’s public activity raised to a higher plane…” (p.13).
So, on this bicentennial anniversary of his death, we thank God for his life and ministry that bore such rich fruit then and that are still bearing fruit.
Why should we remember Andrew Fuller (1754– 1815) two centuries after his death in Kettering in the English Midlands? Well, near the beginning of the funeral sermon that the Calvinistic Baptist John Ryland, Jr., preached for Andrew Fuller in 1815, Ryland described Fuller as “perhaps the most judicious and able theological writer that ever belonged to our denomination.” Although Fuller was one of Ryland’s closest friends, his judgment is by no means a biased one. For instance, Joseph Belcher, the editor of the 19th-century American edition of Fuller’s collected works, believed that Fuller’s works would “go down to posterity side by side with the immortal works of the elder president Edwards [i.e., Jonathan Edwards, Sr.].” And Charles Haddon Spurgeon, at the close of the 19th century, described Fuller as “the greatest theologian” of his century, while A.C. Underwood, a Baptist historian writing in the middle of the next century, was of the opinion that he was the soundest and most useful theologian that the English Calvinistic Baptists had ever had. What reasons did these men, in different times and places, have for so highly valuing Fuller and his works?
Just released from Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, a collection of essays on Baptists and War. These papers, which were originally delivered at the 2011 annual conference of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, were compiled and edited by Gordon L. Heath and Michael A.G. Haykin…
While Baptists through the years have been certain that “war is hell,” they have not always been able to agree on how to respond to it. This book traces much of this troubled relationship from the days of Baptist origins with close ties to pacifist Anabaptists to the responses of Baptists in America to the war in Vietnam. Essays also include discussions of the English Baptist Andrew Fuller’s response to the threat of Napoleon, how Baptists in America dealt with the War of 1812, the support of Canadian Baptists for Britain’s war in Sudan and Abyssinia in the 1880s, the decisive effect of the First World War on Canada’s T. T. Shields, the response of Australian Baptists to the Second World War, and how Russian Baptists dealt with the Cold War. These chapters provide important analyses of Baptist reactions to one of society’s most intractable problems.
Gordon L. Heath is Associate Professor of Christian History at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario and Centenary Chair in World Christianity. He is the author of A War with a Silver Lining: Canadian Protestant Churches and the South African War, 1899-1902 (2009).
Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He is the author of a number of books dealing with patristic and Baptist studies.
Andrew Fuller Center contributor Dustin Bruce’s review of Michael Haykin’s book Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2014) is now online (featured in the most recent Credo Mag):
The names of few, if any, “saints” are as widely recognized as the name of Saint Patrick. Yet, while many know of the legendary propagator of Celtic Christianity, few know the facts surrounding Patrick or the legacy he left behind. In Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2014), Michael A. G. Haykin has cut through much of the mist surrounding the great missionary of the early church. Haykin, who serves as Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, provides an account of the life, theology, and legacy of Patrick that is both responsible in its use of sources and readable for all who may find themselves interested.
Many Anabaptist ideas made invaluable contributions to the Reformation. For example, these five tenets might be identified as Anabaptist distinctives:
Sola Scriptura—Anabaptists were sometimes more consistent than the Magisterial Reformers in their insistence on biblical authority for certain practices in matters of church polity and worship.
Separation of Church and State—Anabaptists correctly saw the church as the assembly of the redeemed, antithetical to the world and sometimes antagonistic to society as a whole. For this reason they advocated separation of church and state.
Freedom of Conscience—because of the Anabaptists’ convictions about the role of the secular state, they believed that the ultimate remedy for heresy was excommunication. They steadfastly opposed the persecution that was so characteristic of their age. They denied that the state had a right to punish or execute anyone for religious beliefs or teachings. This was a revolutionary notion in the Reformation era.
Believers’ Baptism—The anabaptists were the among the first to point out the lack of explicit biblical support for infant baptism. Most of them made no issue of the mode of baptism, and practiced affusion (sprinkling), however, so they were not true baptists in the modern sense of the word.
Holiness of Life—Anabaptists gave much emphasis to spiritual experience, practical righteousness, and obedience to divine standards. They had no tolerance for those who claimed to be justified by faith while living unfaithful lives. Anabaptists pointed out that Scripture says, “Faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20).
On most of those points we would strongly agree with the Anabaptists’ thrust (though not necessarily with the extreme conclusions they sometimes came to).
Nevertheless, there is very good reason to approach the Anabaptist movement with a healthy dose of caution. While acknowledging our very real debt to the Anabaptists on the matters enumerated above, we must also recognize an unhealthy tendency in Anabaptist doctrine: Anabaptists rejected the Reformed understanding of justification by faith alone. They denied the forensic nature of justification and insisted that the only ground on which sinners can be acceptable to God is a “real” righteousness wrought within the justified person.
For further reading on Anabaptist theology see the recommended resources (links) on Phil Johnson’s site.
Most Baptists are fooled into thinking that we come from the Anabaptists just because the word “baptist” is found in their name. But we must use great caution here. We must explore who the Anabaptists really were and ask the all-important question: Are they truly representative of Baptist beliefs?Who are these people called “Anabaptist”? This group refers to a community of rebels during the Reformation period; they were considered to be the radical wing of the Reformation. Even within this group there were various views and camps. Two main separate camps can be identified: the “revolutionary Anabaptist” and the “evangelical Anabaptist.” We really do not want to spend too much time on the revolutionary group for they hardly reflect a biblical approach to Christianity. They actually took on the form of a cult, holding to an extreme mystical experiential view and believing their leaders to be prophets (future-tellers). They were also quick to use violence to get their way.However, the “evangelical” Anabaptists were a movement of a different type. And it is from this group that many say the Baptist movement was born. Thus, we need to take some time to examine them. This group, first of all, rejected the orthodox Christian view of sin. Instead of holding to sin as a bondage both of the nature and actions of mankind, they held that sin was “a loss of capacity or a serious sickness.” The Anabaptists, in following Rome’s view of justification, held that God makes us righteous and then accepts us on the basis of our righteousness. They also believed that Christ did not take His flesh from Mary but held to a heavenly origin for His flesh. When it came to the world, the Anabaptists believe we were to totally separate ourselves from it (although they did dip into it with a zealous evangelism on occasion). The Anabaptists rejected infant baptism and held to believer’s baptism, but their mode for the most part was sprinkling, not pouring or immersion. Their view of interpreting Scripture was that of just strict imitation which led to large movements of legalism.When we look at the Anabaptists we must agree that there are some similarities with the early General Baptists, but overall these similarities are slight and not always relational. In the end, we must come to say that this group of Christians does not reflect the historical teaching of the Baptists. The large portion of Baptist history shows us that Baptists held to a strong position on sin, both in our nature and in our actions, not as just some mere sickness. Baptists have also held to a belief in the virgin birth and see that this is what points to the doctrine of the God-Man, not just some heavenly illusion. As well, Baptists have held strongly to the Reformation’s recovery of justification – that it is based upon Christ’s righteousness alone and not our righteousness because we have none. And finally, Baptists have always seen that the Scriptures are to be studied and applied to everyday life through the power of the Holy Spirit and are not to be followed just in blind imitation or by a leap of faith. So we must clearly reject, as history does, that the Baptist origins flow from the Anabaptists.
The fact of history is that three “Believer’s-Only” groups arose independently of each other and with a few similarities, but even more dissimilarities. The Continental Anabaptists (who did not immerse), the English General Baptists, and the English Particular Baptists.
1644, The First (Particular Baptist) London Confession of Faith
The Confession of Faith, Of those Churches which are commonly (though falsly ) called Anabaptists;
So if Baptists are not the heirs to the Anabaptists, who are? The Amish, The Brethren, and the Mennonites.
In 2006 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and in 2008 the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) apologized for the Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists. To whom did they apologize? SBC, or any Baptist group? No. They apologized to Mennonites. (see ELCA and LWF)
The Founders Press Ministry Collection (11 vols.) is currently gathering interest in Pre-Pub to see if this becomes a Logos resource.
Ministry is for both pastor and parishioner. Whatever your role, find insights for better ministry from Baptist teachers and preachers dedicated to Scripture and historic Baptist principles. The Founders Press Ministry Collection gathers volumes on church membership, worship, pastoral ministry, embracing the doctrines of grace, dealing with pain and suffering, reformation in the Southern Baptist convention, and much more. Gathering powerful resources for serving God and building the church today, this collection is a valuable asset for approaching numerous areas of church life and ministry….
Addresses various aspects of ministry in a Baptist context
Upholds historic Baptist principles
Practically examines worship, the doctrines of grace, church membership, and more
Includes a modern rendering of the 1689 Baptist Confession
On February 6, 2015, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies hosted a mini-conference to consider the legacy of Andrew Fuller. 2015 marks the bicentennial of Fuller’s death so it was appropriate The Andrew Fuller Center devote some time to assessing his legacy. As an added bonus, the conference date of February 6th was the 261st birthday of Fuller. The conference was hosted on the third floor of the Legacy Hotel on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We are pleased to make available the audio from the conference free of charge below:
“Why Andrew Fuller?”(MP3) a brief intro to the conference by Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin (Professor of Church History and Director of AFCBS at SBTS)
From the author: “The poems in this collection were written over a lengthy period of more than thirty-five years, from the mid-1970s to the present day. They seek to express, in ways not accessible to an historian’s prose, my experience of the delights and paradoxes of being a believer in and follower of the Triune God.”
The Baptist Story is a narrative history of a diverse group of people spanning over four centuries, living among distinct cultures on separate continents, while finding their common identity in Christ and expressing their faith as Baptists. Baptist historians Anthony Chute, Nathan Finn, and Michael Haykin highlight the Baptist transition from a despised sect to a movement of global influence. Each chapter includes stories of people who made this history so fascinating. Although the emphasis is on the English-speaking world, The Baptist Story integrates stories of non-English speaking Baptists, ethnic minorities, women, and minority theological traditions, all within the context of historic, orthodox Christianity.
This volume provides more than just the essential events and necessary names to convey the grand history. It also addresses questions that students of Baptist history frequently ask, includes prayers and hymns of those who experienced hope and heartbreak, and directs the reader’s attention to the mission of the church as a whole. Written with an irenic tone and illustrated with photographs in every chapter, The Baptist Story is ideally suited for graduate or undergraduate courses, as well as group study in the local church.