“Andrew Fuller the Reader” Conference – Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (August 27-28, 2007)

February 28, 2007

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)

The first conference sponsored by the Andrew Fuller Works Project is fast approaching! The intinerary has been posted over on the official blog of the Andrew Fuller Centre for Reformed Evangelicalism, The Elephant of Kettering. It will be a fantastic conference for those interested in Fuller, Calvinistic Baptists, Baptist History or Church History in general. See the itinerary post here for the line up of speakers and topics.

 If you have any questions regarding this conference please feel free to e-mail me at allen.mickle.jr@gmail.com. As Dr. Haykin’s assistant I will be involved in the planning of the conference. Looking forward to seeing you all there!


William R. Rice Lectures at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

February 28, 2007

John C. Whitcomb

Each spring my alma mater, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, hosts the William R. Rice Lecture Series, named in honor of the Seminary’s founder and long-time pastor (1949-1989) of Inter-City Baptist Church. This year’s speaker will be Dr. John C. Whitcomb, who will speak on “Recent Trends in Creationism.” He has taught Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years, and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. Dr. Whitcomb taught at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, from 1951-1990, and gained recognition for his work on The Genesis Flood, co-authored with the late Dr. Henry Morris. This book has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern biblical creationism movement. His main teaching emphases have included biblical creationism, Old Testament exposition, dispensational theology, premillennial eschatology, and presuppositional apologetics.

The 2007 William R. Rice Lecture Series will be held on Thursday, March 15. The lectures will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 12:00 p.m., with a luncheon following. Alumni, former students, area pastors, and prospective students are all invited to attend. There is no cost to attend the lectures, but reservations are required. Please contact the seminary by phone at (313) 381-0111 or by email at alumni@dbts.edu.


Baptist Distinctives – Individual Soul Liberty

February 27, 2007

baptism.jpg

Individual Soul Liberty

 

One of the outstanding principles and doctrines of Baptists through the centuries has been what we call individual soul liberty. By this phrase is meant the right so far as any human intervention is concerned, of every soul to approach God and interpret God for himself. It does not mean that the soul is sovereign above all other souls. If an individual makes a mistake in the exercise of his soul’s sovereignty in his approach to or interpretation of God, then he must settle with God on that score; but no other human, or combination of humans, anywhere on the face of the earth can coerce him to approach any other way or to interpret God in any other fashion than he chooses for himself. Romans 14:5­–12 is the key passage which instructs us on our individual liberty to interpret the Word of God. Also, Joshua 24:15 teaches that we have the responsibility, right, and privilege to choose to follow God or not. Acts 17:11 teaches us about the example of the Bereans who constantly on their own searched the Scriptures to determine what was correct doctrine. 

Does believing in individual soul liberty mean that we can be opposed to the historic cardinal doctrines of the faith if we so choose to read it that way?  

Baptists have always been creedal people. We have been people that have come together around a common doctrinal commitment. These doctrinal statements have stood the test of time, like the First and Second London Baptist Confession, the Philadelphia Baptist Confession, and the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith. These doctrinal statements were the central point of convergence for these churches. Their people served in churches that were committed to these teachings. Creeds are a very important part of the church of Jesus Christ. It helps to develop a systematic understanding of doctrinal teachings which we can rally around. Even our church, has a doctrinal statement which in itself is like a creed. 

We can have the freedom to interpret the Word for ourselves and yet still hold to a central confession of faith. The key here is, if one chooses based on their soul liberty to reject that confession, they have the freedom to do so and can choose to fellowship with a church that better reflects their doctrinal stands.


“Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller” 10

February 25, 2007

fuller.jpgThis next selection comes from a tract titled “The Mystery of Providence, Especially in Respect of God’s Dealings with Different Parts of the World in Different Ages.” It can be found in the Works, III: 807.

“One great cause of the mercy bestowed on the western part of the earth was the Roman conquests, which, whatever were the motives of the conquerors, were overruled for the introduction of the gospel among European nations. And who knows but the British conquests in the east, whatever be the motives of the conquerors, may be designed for a similar purpose? Even that iniquitous traffic which we and other nations have long been carrying on in the persons of men, I have no doubt, will eventually prove a blessing to those miserable people, though it may be a curse to their oppressors. At this day there are many thousands of negroes in the West India islands who have embraced the gospel, while their owners, basking in wealth, and rolling in debauchery, will neither enter into the kingdom of God themselves, nor suffer others who would enter in. God is gathering a people in spite of them. Behold the goodness and justice of God! Men, torn from their native shores and tenderest connexions, are in a manner driven into the gospel net; the most abject and cruel state of slavery is that by means of which they beome the Lord’s free-men. Their oppressors, on the other hand, who lead them captive, are themselves captive by the devil at his will, and, under the name of Christians, are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. ‘O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his jugments, and his ways past finding out!'”


I am the New Ian

February 22, 2007

I want to thank everyone for praying for me. I have been offered the position of Administrative Assistant to the Principal (Dr. Michael Haykin) at Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College. I start in 2 weeks. It is a tremendous opportunity for me and a pleasure to serve such a wonderful institution for raising up ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 Since hearing about it, I have been called by two individuals “the new Ian.” Ian Clary, who is a student at TBS previously served in my new capacity. I told Dr. Haykin I was going to get cards made up that said “Allen Mickle… the New Ian!” I hope I do as good a job as he did!

 Thank you again for all your prayers! Continue to pray for me as I start this new ministry and begin work on my Ph.D.


Baptist Distinctives – Two Ordinances

February 21, 2007

Two Ordinances (Believer’s Baptism by Immersion and the Lord’s Supper)

There are two ordinances (commands) in the Bible for the church today. The first is baptism; the second is the Lord’s Supper.

Baptism is a command that comes directly from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as revealed in Matthew 28:19-20. Clearly we know this is an ordinance or command of the local church because it was revealed to us to be by Jesus Himself.

Acts 2:41 shows us that baptism was to identify ourselves as followers of Christ and add us to the membership of the local church. The context of this passage is on the day of Pentecost following Peter’s sermon regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ and our responsibility to that knowledge. After he had preached this message there were a number (3000) people who responded in repentance to that message and were baptized in response. By basis of their baptism they were “added” which implies being added to the church. Most are agreed then that baptism is what places us into the “church.” There are disagreements over how that happens. Those who believe that baptism is for believer’s only say that you have to profess faith and your baptism places you in the universal church and then by result places you in membership in the local church. Those who baptize infants believe it places them in a covenant community and somehow those who cannot “respond” to the Word are now part of the Church. The problem with this is that the text says those who “received” the Word were baptized, not infants who cannot receive the Word at all.

Acts 8:12 also confirms that one must respond to the Gospel first. This is similar to the previous verse where it was those who believed in the teaching of the Word of God concerning Christ who were baptized. There is no mention of those who cannot respond in faith to God being baptized here.

Even in the problematic passages like Acts 16:31-34 baptism does not apply to infants. While it does say that the whole household was baptized it does not mean that infants were baptized. It clearly says his whole household was saved If one must consciously repent of their sins and turn to Christ to be saved, then these are obviously not infants here that were saved and baptized. These were individuals in his household that could understand and accept the Gospel and therefore be baptized.

Therefore, baptism is clearly only for those who have repented of their sins and turned to Christ. It is designed to place them in the body of Christ and be recognized as members of a local church. Now we need to understand in what mode baptism should be performed

Lots of churches practice baptism by sprinkling or pouring water. Why do we fully immerse people in Baptist churches? It is for two reasons. First, and this is totally un-debated by those who do not practice immersion is that the Greek word “baptidzo” which we translate as “baptize” means to immerse. Those who practice sprinkling or pouring recognize this but do not follow it anyway.

Second, baptism represents the death and resurrection of Jesus. Romans 6:4 reveals to us that baptism is a picture of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If one is not actually immersed under the water the picture is missing. Sprinkling or pouring can never reflect being dead (under ground) and coming back to life (coming up from under the ground). Only baptism by immersion can reflect that picture.

Baptism is pure and simply an act of immersing someone into water. It is a picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It shows that we wish to be associated with Him and what happened to Him. It is only for believers; for those that profess faith in Jesus Christ and have repented of their sins and turned to follow Him. Its purpose is to demonstrate that we associate with Christ and what He did and His church. It places us into the body of Christ and makes us a member of a local church. It is a visible expression of our association with Christ and His church. It cannot be true baptism by sprinkling or pouring and it cannot be performed on infants.

The Lord’s Table, Supper, Communion, or the Eucharist makes up the second ordinance or command of the local church.

There are two main passages that teach the church about the Lord’s Supper.

Matthew 26:26–30 gives us the original institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus Himself. 1 Corinthians 11:23–34 gives us a re-iteration of that official institution as well as some added information regarding the purpose and attitude of the Lord’s Supper.

There are a number of things we can learn from these passages regarding the Lord’s Supper. First, again this is a commandment, instituted by Christ Himself, and reaffirmed by the apostle Paul. The church of Jesus Christ is required to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

Second, we read in the 1 Corinthians passage that we partake in remembrance of Him. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial. It is designed to focus our attention once again on what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us. There is nothing mystical about the Lord’s Supper. It does not impart grace. It is simply a fresh reminder for us of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Third, not only is it a reminder of His work of salvation in the past, it is a promise of hope that He will return again. We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is both a time of memorial, reflection, with a somber tone, it is also a time of celebration over the truth of Christ’s saving work on the cross and His promise to come again. We are to reflect on our own lives in relation to what Christ has done for us and rejoice in that He has provided us salvation.

Fourth, since it is an ordinance of the local church, we do not believe that the Lord’s Table should be performed outside of the regular meeting of God’s people in the local church.

Finally, the Lord’s Supper is taken by those who are baptized believers who are members of a local church of like faith and practice who are walking in the Lord. Since an un-baptized believer is an idea foreign to the New Testament, we require all those who participate in the Lord’s Supper to be a baptized member of a church that is like ours in doctrine and practice.


"Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller" 9

February 18, 2007

This next quote comes from a letter from Andrew Fuller to John Ryland dated April 2, 1795. It can be found in Michael A. G. Haykin’s, The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller (Dundas, ON: Joshua Press, 2001), p. 133.

… Sin is to be overcome, not so much by maintaining a direct opposition to it, as by cultivating opposite principles. Would you kill the weeds in your garden, plant it with good seed; if the ground be well occupied, there will be less need of the labour of the hoe. If a man wished to quench fire, he might fight it with his hands till he was burnt to death; the only way is to apply an opposite element.