Andrew Fuller the Preacher

April 9, 2007


While Fuller was a very popular preacher, it is well-known that he was perhaps not the best preacher. In doing some reading and thought into Andrew Fuller the Preacher, I came across some interesting quotes in which everyone may be interested.

“His own sermons were weighty, logical, and grave; he had not the finish of Foster not the splendor of Hall, but his simple and vigorous style expressed simple and vigorous thought; that he was an effective preacher may be inferred from the fact that when Thomas Chalmers listened to him he resolved to so far make Fuller model that he would never again read a sermon, but henceforth trust to extemporaneous delivery” (T. Harwood Pattison, The History of Christian Preaching [Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, 1903), p. 287.

“There is little warmth–no heat; imagination is scarcely in evidence at all; and ‘flights of eloquence’ nowhere appear. The sermons on themes are orderly, discriminating, logical; the expositions… are careful and plain, in homily form; the style is clear and even, but lacks grace, fervor, and movement. Excellent good sense and timeliness for their day characterize the writings of Fuller, and they did good and enduring service; but they have not enough literary quality to make them standards, and their adaptation to contemporary though has, or course, passed away with their own times” (Edwin Charles Dargan, A History of Preaching [New York: George H. Doran, 1912], II:333).

“As a preacher he soon became popular, without any of the ordinary means of popularity. He had none of that easy elocution, none of that graceful fluency, which melts upon the ear, and captivates the attention of an auditor. His enunciation was laborious and slow; his voice strong and heavy; occasionally plaintive, and capable of an agreeable modulation. He had none of that eloquence which consists in a felicitous selection of terms, or in the harmonious construction of periods; he had a boldness in his manner, a masculine delivery, and great force of expression. His style was often deformed by colloquialisms, and coarse provincials; but in the roughest of his deliveries, ‘the bones of a giant might be seen.’… In entering the pulpit, he studied very little decorum, and often hastened out of it with an appearance of precipitation… Not aware of its awkwardness, in the course of his delivery, he would insensibly place one hand upon his heart, or behind him, and gradually twist off a button from his coat, which some of his domestics had frequent occasion to replace…. He was not the exact model of an orator” (J. W. Morris, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, late Pastor of the Baptist Church in Kettering, and Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society (n.o. High Wycomebe, 1816), pp. 81-82).

These are just a few looks at Fuller’s pulpit ability. Yet, for Fuller it was passion in the pulpit over rhetorical and oratorical skill that he rightly stressed was important for the preacher.

“Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller” 13

April 1, 2007


This past week in chapel, Pastor Carl Muller of Trinity Baptist Church, Burlington, ON, brought us the Word of God with a focus on the Christian and joy. It was a good reminder of what the inward and outward disposition of the Christian is to be! Andrew Fuller also wrote on the issue of the Christian and joy. In a circular letter of 1795 (titled, “Why Christians in the Present Day Possess Less Joy than the Primitive Disciples”) Fuller discusses the reasons why Christians do not experience joy and some solutions for the problem.

The quote from this letter can be found in the Works, III:330.

“The primitive Christians were in the habit of considering all things as working together for good, and so of deriving joy from every occurrence. If the world smiled upon them, they rejoiced, and availed themselves of the opportunity for spreading the gospel; of if it frowned on them for their attachment to Christ, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name’s sake. By thus converting every thing into food for joy, they answered to the exhortations of the apostles, ‘Let the brother of low degree rejoice that he is exalted; but the rich in that he is made low.’–‘Beloved, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.’–‘Rejoice evermore.’–In everything give thanks.’ If we would feel like them, we must enter into their views; we must have less of the complaining patriarch, as well as the whining merchants; and more of that temper which prompted the holy inhabitants of heaven, on every new dispensation of providence, to cry, ‘Amen Hallelujah!'”

“Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller” 12

March 24, 2007


My apologies to all of you in the delay of my posting on this blog. With my recent transition to Toronto and my frequent trips back to Windsor to bring my library to Toronto it has kept me from posting. My Saturday posts on Crawford Gribben’s book Rapture Fiction and my Sunday posts on thoughts from Andrew Fuller have gone neglected. I hope to remedy one of these right now.

This past Friday we had Dr. Bingham Hunter from Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois come and lead our Day of Prayer. Dr. Hunter is a subject specialist in the area of prayer and his messages were challenging, humbling, and encouraging. His third message was on “How Can we Tell God Know Anything when He Already Knows Everything?” In my reading of Fuller I found a fitting quote that went along with this message. It is in a letter that is found in The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller, pp. 88–89.

“I used to think too, that the doctrine of election was a reason why we need not pray, and I fear there are many who split upon this rock; who think it is to no purpose to pray, as things will be as they will be. But I now see that the doctrine of election is the greatest encouragement, instead of a discouragement, to prayer. He that decreed that any one should be finally saved, decreed that it should be in the way of prayer; as much as he that has decreed what we shall possess of the things of this life, has decreed that it shall be in the way of industry; and as we never think of being idle in common business, because God has decreed what we shall possess of this world’s good; so neither should we be slothful in the business of our souls, because our final state is decreed. We may be sure of this, for the Lord hath spoken it—that the wrath of God will be poured out on the families who call not on his name; while the door of mercy will be opened to all who knock at it.”

I’ve been Accepted!

March 6, 2007

I just received my acceptance papers in the mail today! I am now a Ph.D. student in Historical Theology at the University of Wales Lampeter. I will be studying under Dr. Frances Knight, Senior Lecturer in Church History at the University of Wales, Dr. Maurice Dowling, Professor of Church History and Theology at Irish Baptist College, and Dr. Michael Haykin, Principal and Professor of Church History and Reformed Spirituality at Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College.

This is extremely encouraging news! University of Wales Lampeter is the third oldest institution for higher learning in England and Wales (after Oxford and Cambridge). Dr. Knight and Dr. Dowling are accomplished Church Historians with specialties in the history of Christianity in England during the period in which I am writing. Of course, Dr. Haykin is a highly esteemed Church Historian with a particular focus in 18th century Baptist History which is precisely my focus.

Again, for those who may not have heard before, my focus is on the Christological Apologetics of Andrew Fuller. My dissertation title is “The Scriptural Influence on Andrew Fuller’s (1754–1815) Views of the Person and Nature of Jesus Christ in the Midst of Christological Controversy.” I hope to focus on how Fuller understood and interpreted the Scriptures (what he called “The Oracles of God”) in his defence of the orthodox positions on the person and nature of Jesus Christ in his controversies with the Johnsonians, Paine, Priestly, and finally, Vidler.

 I am incredibly excited about this new phase of my life. Pray for me that I may devote my studies to this in such a way that it brings Glory to God and benefit to the Church of Jesus Christ.

“Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller” 11

March 4, 2007


It is generally a wonderful occasion in the life of a church to have men and women turn from sin and embrace their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When they share their testimonies and show their allegiance to Christ through believer’s baptism, it can be an incredible motivating event in the life of the church. We had a baptism service today at my home church of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Windsor, ON. Two gentlemen and one women shared their travels from Roman Catholicism to embracing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His offer of free grace. I am always moved and motivated when this kind of wonderful event occurs. In light of this, I wanted to quote from one of Fuller’s circular letters regarding baptism. It is titled, “Practical Uses of Christian Baptism” and it can be found in the Works, III:343-344.

“The baptism of a number of serious Christians is an interesting and impressive spectacle! Often on such solemn occasions have we witnessed the falling tear; not only from the parties baptized, and others immediately connected with them, but from indifferent spectators. We could appeal to the consciences of many serious Christians, whether they did not receive their first convictions of the reality of religion at such opportunities. We could appeal to all of you, who have been in the habit of attending the administration of this ordinance, whether it has not frequently furnished you with the most solemn and tender reflections. Has not the sight of a number of young Christians, offering themselves willingly to the Lord, touched the secret springs of holy sensibility? Yes; you have been reminded by it of your own solemn engagements, and led to inquire in what manner they have been fulfilled. You have remembered the days of your espousals, when you first went after your Saviour as in the wilderness, and have been sweetly impelled to renew the solemn surrender. Nor have your reflections been confined to yourselves; you have considered these new accessions to the church of God as supplying the place of others that were taken away and as fulfilling the promise, ‘Instead of thy fathers, shall be thy children.’ When a number of dear friends and useful characters have, one after another, been removed by death, you have been ready to ask, Who shall fill up their place; and by whom shall Jacob arise? But when others of promising gifts and graces have come forward and yielded up themselves to the Lord in baptism, they have seemed in a manner to be ‘baptized for the dead.’ Thus, when the ranks of an army in a besieged city are thinned by repeated engagements, and the hearts of survivors are ready to faint, a reinforcement arrives: a body of new companions throw themselves in to its relief, and inspire them with new vigour.”

“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 As Dr. Haykin’s assistant I will be involved in the planning of the conference. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

“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!'”

"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.

"Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller" 8

February 12, 2007

Sorry for the delay guys! It’s been a busy couple of weeks!

This next selection from Fuller comes from a sermon he preached titled, “The Obedience of Churches to Their Pastors Explained and Enforced.” It was preached to the Baptist Church at Cannon Street in Birmingham at the ordination of Thomas Morgan on June 23, 1802.

It can be found in Works, I:202.

From these remarks, you see and feel, my brethren, that if your pastor perform his work with grief, it will be at your expense; or that every kind of treatment that woulds his spirit undermines your own welfare. Study, therefore, by all means, to render it his joy, which will turn to your account: study, by a constant discharge of kind offices, to endear yourselves and your families to him; by an inviting intimacy in spiritual things, to known and be known by him; and by a holy, humble, and uniform conduct int eh world and in the church, to enable him to look the enemies of religion in the face, while he proclaims its holy efficacy. The reward of a true pastor is in the people of his charge, in their sanctification and salvation. What else is h hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Do not withhold from the labourer his hire! You may be his hope, without being his joy; and his hope and joy for a season, without being his crown of rejoicing in the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming: but need I sy that this will be unprofitable o you? If he have a full reward of his labour, you must be his hope, and joy, and crown. Brethren, consider what I have said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.

"Listening to the Past – Lessons from Andrew Fuller" 7

January 28, 2007

In a sermon preached at a Minister’s Meeting at Clipsone on April 27, 1791, Fuller expounded on “Instances, Evil, and Tendency of Delay, in the Concerns of Religion” and used Haggai 1:2 as his text. His conclusion is such an incredibly powerful call for sinners to repent and turn to Christ. I want to include most of it here. It is a call that all men must repent of their sins and turn to embrace the Son. May we all be so passionate in presenting the Gospel to a lost and dying world!

This is found in the Works, I:151.

O thoughtless sinner! trifle no longer with the murder of time, so short and uncertain in its duration; the morning of your existence; the mould in which you receive an impression for eternity; the only period in which the Son of man has power to forgive sins! Should the remaining part of your life pass away in the same careless manner as that has which has already elapsed what bitter reflection must needs follow! How cutting it must be to look back on all the means of salvation as gone for ever; the harvest past, the summer ended, and you not saved!

Suppose a company, at the time of low water, should take an excursion upon the sands near the sea-shore: suppose yourself of the company: suppose that, on a presumption of the tide’s not returning at present, you should all fall asleep: suppose all the company, except yourself, to awake out of their sleep, and finding their danger, endeavour to awake you, and to persuade you to flee with them for your life; but you, like the sluggard, are for “a little more sleep, and a little more slumber:” the consequence is, your companions escape, but you are left behind to perish in the waters, which, regardless of all your cries, rise and overwhelm you! What a situation this would be! How would you curse that love of sleep that made you refuse to be awaked–that delaying temper that wanted to indulge a little longer! But what is this situation compared with that of a lost soul? There will come a period when the bottom of the ocean would be deemed a refuge; when, to be crushed under falling rocks and mountains, instead of being viewed with terror as heretofore, will be earnestly desired! Yes, desired, but desired in vain! The sinner who has “neglected the great salvation” will not be able to “escape,” nor hide himself “from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne,” nor from “the wrath of the Lamb!”

My dear hearers! consider your condition without delay. God says to you, To-day, if he will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. To-day may be the only day you have to live. Go home, enter the closet, and shut the door; confess your sins; implore mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ; “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him!”