Baptist origins lie within the matrix of the renewal movement known to history as Puritanism. They were not the only community to emerge from this renewal, however: English Presbyterians and Congregationalists also trace their beginnings back to Puritanism. But despite this common ancestry, these communities had their differences.
In this tenth annual conference of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, co-sponsored this year by The Davenant Trust, we trace this diversity through the lives and thought of three leading Puritans of the late Stuart era (1660–1714)—the Presbyterian Richard Baxter, the Congregationalist John Owen, and the Baptist William Kiffen—all of whom were born within a year or so of each other, in 1615 and 1616. Do join us as we think about the thought and ongoing legacy of these three extremely important Christian authors.
Schedule, Speakers, & Topics:
Monday, September 19
7:30 a.m. Check-In
8:30 a.m. General Session 1: Timothy Beougher
“As a dying man to dying men: The life and ministry of Richard Baxter”
10:00 a.m. General Session 2: Crawford Gribben
“Becoming John Owen: A Puritan among Evangelicals”
11:30 a.m. General Session 3: Michael Haykin
” ‘By the compass of the Word’: The life and piety of William Kiffen (1616-1701)”
1:00 p.m. Lunch
3:00 p.m. Parallel Sessions
6:00 p.m. Dinner*
8:00 p.m. General Session 4: Herman Selderhuis
“‘…and yet be loth to die?’ Death and dying in the theologies of John Owen and Richard Baxter”
Tuesday, September 20
8:30 a.m. General Session 5: Seth Osborne
“A double-edged sword: Marriage as a hindrance and helper to the pastor’s piety in Richard Baxter”
10:00 a.m. Chapel
11:30 General Session 6: Tim Cooper
“John Owen, Richard Baxter and the battle for Calvin in later-seventeenth-century England”
1:00 p.m. Lunch
2:30 p.m. General Session 7: Russell Fuller
“John Owen and the traditional Protestant view of the Hebrew Old Testament”
4:00 p.m. General Session 12: Nathan Finn
“Renewal through retrieval: The rediscovery of John Owen by 20th-century Reformed & Evangelical Christians”
6:00 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m. General Session 9: Steve Weaver
“William Kiffen, John Bunyan, and the open communion controversy”
9:15 p.m. Lifeway Dessert Reception
Wednesday, September 21
8:30 a.m. General Session 10: Jonathan Arnold
“Keach’s foil: Benjamin Keach and the fight against Baxterianism”
10:00 a.m. General Session 11: David Sytsma
“Richard Baxter conformed to Nonconformity: The modern reception of Baxter as a practical theologian”
General Session 8: Shawn Wright
“Justification by faith alone: The perspectives of John Owen and William Kiffen”
Autobiography of William Kiffin (1616–1701) Chapters 1-3
Kiffin’s influence was very great. Macaulay says, “Great as was the authority of Bunyan with the Baptists, William Kiffin’s was greater still.” He had talents of the highest order; his education was respectable; his sagacity was uncommon; his manners were polished; his piety was known everywhere; and for half a century he was the first man in the Baptist denomination. – Baptist Encyclopedia
The Groans of The Damned Soul or An exposition of those words
in the Sixteenth of Luke, Concerning the Rich Man and the Beggar wherein is discovered the lamentable state of the damned;
their cries, their desires in their distresses, with the determination of God upon them.
A good warning word to sinners, both old and young, to take into consideration betimes, and to seek, by faith in Jesus Christ, to avoid, lest they come into the same Place of Torment.
Also, a brief discourse touching the profitableness of the Scriptures for our instruction in the way of righteousness, according to the tendency of the parable.
Well, now the ax begins to be heaved higher. For now, indeed, God is ready to smite the sinner; yet before He will strike the stroke, He will try one way more at last, and if that misseth, down goes the fig tree. Now this last way is to tug and strive with this professor by the Spirit. Wherefore the Spirit of the Lord is now come to him, but not always to strive with man. Yet awhile He will strive with him; He will awaken, He will convince, He will call to remembrance former sins, former judgments, the breach of former vows and promises, the misspending of former days – He will also present persuasive arguments, encouraging promises, dreadful judgments, the shortness of time to repent in, and that there is hope if He come. Further, He will show him the certainty of death, and of the judgment to come; yea, He will pull and strive with this sinner.
The Redeemer’s Charge Against Declining Churches 1
From Hymnary.org: Wallin, Benjamin, son of Edward Wallin, pastor of the Baptist Church, Maze Pond, Southwark, was born in London in 1711. He received a good education under the care of the Rev. John Needham, of Hitchin (father of the hymnwriter of that name, and was for a time engaged in business. But in 1740 he responded to an earnest request to become pastor of the church over which his father had presided, and this position he retained until his death on Feb. 19, 1782. Mr. B. Wallin published nearly forty sermons, charges, and other small religious books and pamphlets.
Benjamin Beddome (23 January 1717 – 23 September 1795)
Final Rejection of the Wicked
From the Benjamin Beddome Blog: Benjamin beddome (1717-1795) is a largely forgotten 18th century English Baptist preacher, remembered today only as a minor hymnwriter. For over half a century he served as pastor of the Baptist Church Meeting at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire. He is worth more than a passing glance.
FORASMUCH therefore as we find in the sacred writings, that
the separating those who were called by GOD to office in the
church devolved upon the ministers, and that it .was done by prayer and imposition of hands; and as it does not appear that
the practice of laying on of hands was confined to the conferring the peculiar gifts of the Holy Ghost; and we have no intimation of its being laid aside; we are now come, at the desire of this church, to separate Mr. Abraham Booth to the pastoral office in this community, according to the primitive manner, by prayer and imposition of hands. In order to which, give me leave for the satisfaction of this assembly to make the few following
The Rev. Samuel Eyles Pierce (Upottery, Devonshire, England, 23 June 1746 – Clapham, Surrey, England 10 May 1829) was an English preacher, theologian, and Calvinist divine. A Dissenter from the Honiton area, Pierce was an evangelical church minister aligned with Calvinist Baptist theology. He wrote more than fifty books and many sermons.
From the Founders Web Site: The voluminous amount of material, the persuasiveness of his arguments, and the relevance of his insights show these works to be extraordinary for a man under normally healthy circumstances. However, if one realizes that Dagg was virtually blind, mute and lame at the time of his greatest productivity the accomplishment exceeds comprehension.
This work was first published in weekly installments over a twenty-year span in the London Metropolitan Tabernacle’s periodical, The Sword and the Trowel.
Completed sections were released volume by volume, until the seventh and final volume was released in 1885. Within a decade more than 120,000 sets had been sold. The Treasury of David is a superb literary achievement. Eric Hayden, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle a century after Spurgeon’s ministry began there, calls this work “Spurgeon’s magnum opus.” Spurgeon’s wife said that if Spurgeon had never written any other work, this would have been a permanent literary memorial.
“[W]hile the famous Baptist John Bunyan allowed open communion, most of the signers of the 1689 did not. Was this due to hard-headed stubbornness, a reaction against the critiques by Presbyterians? Possibly, but how then does that reconcile with the words of the introduction to the 1689, which calls Presbyterian brethren? And deigns to show love in explaining their differences?
William Kiffin, one of the signers of the 1689, wrote “A Sober Discourse on the Right to Church-Communion” [Amazon], addressing the very reasons why he practiced “closed communion” (restricting the Lord’s Supper to only those professors who had been baptized by immersion). Why did he restrict the table? Because of Scripture:
OBJECTION #10: This is a dividing principle, and ’tis very censorious to judge none fit for communion in a Church, but such as are baptized thereby, unchristianing all other persons that are of another mind.
ANSWER: This is no other principle but what Scripture doth everywhere justify, as hath been largely proved before. And this objection rather chargeable on the contrary opinion, as being that which divides the ordinance from its proper use and by putting it out of its place, where God in his Word hath set it. There being no division by principle, but what is made by the ignorance of the persons that oppose it about the rule and order by which Christians ought to walk; or by their wilful neglect of that which is required by the Lord, of those that desire communion with the Church. For if the Lord of the family prescribe an order by which it should be governed, can it be reasonable that this rule should be broken for the sake of the servant’s ignorance or wilfulness? We censure none so rigidly as to take upon us to unchristian or unchurch them; all that we do (in discharge of our duty to God, and Faithfulness in our places) to labour to keep the Lord’s Ordinances in that purity and Order the Sacred Records testify they were left in, and in a spirit of Love and Meekness to contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints; which we conceive to be a duty enjoined upon all Christians, &c.
Scripture is to regulate the Church’s practice. The elements of worship (which would include the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) are to be administered the way Scripture proscribes. If one sees that proper baptism is immersion according to the Scriptures, and that Christians who are baptized should be the ones to receive the Lord’s Supper (again, according to the Scriptures), then to allow those who are not baptized to the table (for sprinkling nor pouring is considered baptism) would be inconsistent with one’s view of Scripture. If you are not going to allow everyone to the table, then lines are to be drawn somewhere. This should be a reminder to always return to “WDSS?” or, “What Does Scripture Say”? Emotional pleas and intelligent rhetoric may be appealing, but if they are not rooted firmly and clearly in the Word then they must not be compelling.
There is no statement in the 1689 regarding whether baptized believers alone should take the Lord’s Supper. Since not all were in agreement on the issue, the Confession stated that “worthy receivers” partook of the elements, leaving the definition of worthy to individual churches. Obviously there is still disagreement today. However, if you respect Baptists despite disagreeing with them, then you should be able to respect those who decide to fence the table.
Over at the Pure Church blog, Pastor Anyabwile writes:
Michael Haykin, in his book Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage: Kiffin, Knollys, and Keach, provides a valuable, crisp overview of the early years of Calvinistic Baptist development. Anyone looking for a quick read of this history (97 pages) and an introduction to the major figures pioneering the movement would do well to read this well-written, succinct summary.
Of the many things I appreciated about Haykin’s summary was the frequent attention he gave to the major lessons we may appropriate from these forebears for our own day. The concluding chapter draws our attention to three lessons in particular.
Earlier this week we received a request for resources regarding “the relationship of credobaptism with local church membership”.
From a Reformed Baptist’s perspective we found the books below. If you are aware of any others please feel free to let us know!
William Kiffin’s “A Sober Discourse of Right to Church Communion: Wherein is proved by Scripture, the example of the Primitive times, and the practice of all that Have professed the Christian Religion: That no unbaptized person may Be regularly admitted to the Lord’s Supper“
John L. Dagg’s, “Manual of Church Order, Chapter 1; Baptism, Section IV: Design of Baptism
And today’s free e-book (PDF),
Abraham Booth’s “An Apology for the Baptists [download]; In which they are vindicated from the imputation of laying an unwarrantable stress on the ordinance of baptism and against the charge of bigotry in refusing communion at the Lord’s Table to Paedobaptists“