Gill Audio – The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference

September 10, 2009

The audio from my session at the 3rd annual The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies conference this year is now available online. My session was on the great Baptist pastor-theologian, John Gill (1697-1771). The title of the session was “‘A Fountain of Gardens, a Well of Living Waters’: A Survey of Christian Spirituality from John Gill’s Exposition of the Book of Solomon’s Song.” The audio can be found here. The conference was wonderful with many excellent sessions. I would highly recommend you consider attending next year. I will be there! The audio from the other sessions can be found here.


Baptist Spirituality Conference

July 17, 2009

For those church history or Baptist history buffs out there, seriously consider taking in the upcoming The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies conference on the theme of “Baptist Spirituality.” More details about registration and such can be found here.

The speakers for the schedule are excellent. I seriously recommend you give consideration to attending this event August 24-25 at the beautiful campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. Here’s the schedule:

Monday, August 24

7:30-8:45 am Registration

9:00 am Plenary session 1: Crawford Gribben
“Irish Baptist Piety in the 17th Century”

10:25 am Plenary session 2: Robert Strivens
“The Piety of English Dissent: Philip Doddridge and 18th Century Baptists”

11:45am Plenary session 3: Gerald Priest
“A. C. Dixon: Exemplar of Fundamentalist Spirituality”

1:00-2:30 pm Lunch Break: conference participants on their own

2:30 pm-4:45 pm Parallel Sessions

1. ENGLISH BAPTIST PIETY IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES (Chair: Paul Brewster)
a. J. Stephen Yuille “Saving Faith Discovered in Three Heavenly Conferences: A Look at the Pastoral Ministry of a 17th Century Baptist Pastor”
b. Steve Weaver “Piety in 17th Century Baptist Pastoral Ministry as Seen in Three Funeral Sermons”
c. Allen Mickle “A Fountain of Gardens, a Well of Living Waters”: A Survey of Christian Spirituality from John Gill’s (1697-1771) Exposition of the Book of Solomon’s Song
d. Josh Carmichael “The Hymns of Anne Steele: Baptist Spirituality in Verse”

2. BAPTIST PIETY IN 19TH CENTURY GREAT BRITAIN (Chair: Michael Haykin)
a.  Michael Haykin, “Spirituality in the Marriage of Samuel and Sarah Pearce”
b. Terry Wilder “The Life, Thought, and Preaching of 19th Century Scottish Baptist, Peter Grant”
c.  Ian Clary “Alexander Carson: A Plea for Further Study”
d.  Jeff Straub “C.H. Spurgeon—Mr. Greatheart with a Great Heart for God!”

3. BAPTIST PIETY IN 19TH CENTURY NORTH AMERICA (Chair: Jeff Robinson)
a.  Aaron Menikoff “Do Baptists Hold to the Spirituality of the Church? A Historical Look at the Causes and Consequences of the Nineteenth-Century Temperance Movement”
b.  Roger Duke “The Pietistic Thought of Basil Manly, Jr.”
c.  Gordon Heath “Canadian Baptists and Late-Victorian imperial Spirituality”
d.  Jeff Robinson “The Piety of Henry Holcombe Tucker”

6:15 pm Dinner (Banquet Provided for all Conference Registrants and Speakers)

8:15 pm: Plenary session 4: Greg Thornbury
“Baptist Spirituality and Theological Education”

Tuesday, August 25

10:00 am SBTS Convocation

11:40 am Plenary session 5: Tom Nettles
“The Piety of James Petigru Boyce”

12:50-2:30pm Lunch Break: conference participants on their own

2:30-3:30pm Plenary session 6: Greg Wills
“Relevance, Severity, and Spiritual Power in Baptist Piety”

3:40-4:50 pm Plenary session 7: Kevin Smith
“A Distracted Piety: African-American Baptists”

5:00-6:45 Dinner Break: conference participants on their own

BONUS SESSION:

6:45 pm “Spirituality of Historic Baptist Hymnody: A Hymn Sing”

7:45 pm Plenary session 9: Malcolm Yarnell
“ „We Believe with the Heart and with the Mouth Confess‟: The Engaging Piety of John
Smyth and the Early General Baptists”

9:00 pm “Reformed and Anabaptist: Strength and Shortcomings of Two Traditions”
A Late Night Discussion between Drs. Yarnell and Haykin


Local Church Spirituality

June 8, 2009

Tim Kerr, Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church, a recent church plant in Toronto affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries, recently came to the home church of my wife and I, Hespeler Baptist Church in Cambridge. He shared a burden of his heart in the area of discipleship and mentoring. A comment caught my attention. I do not have it verbatim but the gist of it was, your spirituality is tied to the local church. Now readers of my personal blog, will know that the concept of the local church is of incredible importance to me. My three post series on The Primacy of the Local Church, there have been the culmination of strong teaching on the topic while I was in seminary, and much thought about the subject including living it out in the context of the church. My clarion call in much of my preaching on the local church is “the local church is God’s vehicle for accomplishing His will in this age.” The church is primary. Every believer should be an active part of a local church.

Yet, we live in a day and age when spirituality is viewed in very personal terms. My spiritual relationship is good when my personal relationship with God is good. My relationship with God is good when I am doing my personal Bible study and prayer. There is no concept that your spirituality might be affected by your body life, that is your relationship to the local church. The crux passage on this issue in my mind is Ephesians 4:11-16.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Here Paul is informing the Ephesian church about gifting noting that there were those in the church that had been given specific roles by their gifting from God with the express purpose of building up the faith of the church. These people were designed to teach the people so they knew what the Word said and would not be deceived by untruth but embrace the truth of the Scriptures. The capstone though is that there is a focus on growing in Christ as a body. Each part is necessary for the church to grow. Nowhere here does it say that we grow in our faith in Christ alone. We grow in our faith in Christ in the context of the body of Christ. The body of Christ, the local church, is necessary in the life of the believer for growing in faith and godliness. We were never meant to go it alone. We were always meant to be part of the church of Jesus Christ. And you cannot grow spiritually apart from that which Christ died for, the church!

When thinking about spirituality, let us never divorce what we need to grow in Christ from the local church. The local church is the place we grow in Christ as we learn, study, serve, and fellowship. So, the spiritual thermometer of your life should never just be about what you do alone with Christ. It should be what you do with Christ in His body. How you live with other believers, how you treat the local church, how you serve it, that is how you will grow in your spirituality. Christian spirituality IS local church spirituality.


Baptist Spirituality: Historical Perspectives

May 25, 2009

The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies is hosting the 3rd Annual conference devoted to Baptist History. This year the conference is titled, “Baptist Spirituality: Historical Perspectives.” It is being held August 24-25, 2009 on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The theme of the 2009 conference is, “Baptist Spirituality:  Historical Perspectives” Featured speakers will include: Crawford Gribben, Michael Haykin , Robert Strivens, Greg Thornbury, Kevin Smith, Tom Nettles, Greg Wills, Gerald Priest, Jason Lee, and Malcolm Yarnell. Other established Baptist History scholars, as well as several Ph.D. students will be presenting papers on the conference theme during the parallel sessions.

Make sure you come to hear me present my paper: “A Fountain of Gardens, A Well of Living Waters”: A Survey of Christian Spirituality from John Gill’s (1697-1771) Exposition of the Book of Solomon’s Song.

To Register for this excellent conference, see here.


Samuel Pearce (1766-1799) – Missionary Piety

January 26, 2009

Samuel Pearce (1766-1799), Minister of Cannon Street Baptist Church and member of the Baptist Missionary Society, is a neglected figure in history. This wonderfully spiritual man motivated more to the ministry of missions through his young life, than many did during their whole lives.

I wanted you to be made aware of an excellent little paper, “Swallowed Up in God: The Impact of Samuel PEarce on Modern Missions” by Adam Covington. Please read and digest and be challenged by this brief overview of Pearce’s life and ministry and legacy. You can find it here as the most recent White Paper here at The Center for Theological Research at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


3rd Annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference

December 4, 2008

Be sure to mark on your calendar the 3rd Annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies Conference being held at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY from August 24-25, 2009. This looks to be a great conference!

The theme is “Baptist Spirituality: Historical Perspectives.”

The plenary sessions are as follows (the parallel papers will be added later):

Monday August 24

9:00 AM – Crawford Gribben – “Irish Baptist Piety in the 17th Century”

10:25 AM – Michael Haykin – “Welsh Baptist Piety in the 17th and 18th Centuries”

11:45 AM – Robert Strivens – “The Piety of English Dissent: Philip Doddridge and Eighteenth-Century Baptists”

8:40 PM – Greg Thornbury – “Baptist Spirituality and Theological Education”

Tuesday August 25

8:45 AM – Kevin Smith – “African-American Baptist Piety”

11:30 AM – Tom Nettles – “The Piety of James Petigru Boyce”

2:15 PM – Greg Wills – “Relevance, Severity, and Spiritual Power in Baptist Piety”

3:30 PM – Gerald Priest – “Fundamental Baptists and the Holy Life”

7:15 PM – Jason Lee – “The Piety of John Smyth”

8:30 PM – Malcolm Yarnell – “17th and 18th Century General Baptist Piety: Its Significance for Today”


John Gill on Prayer

January 17, 2008

It is good for the saints to draw near to God; it is not only good because it is their duty, but because it yields their souls a spiritual pleasure; and it is also of great profit and advantage to them: It is often an ordinance of God, and which he owns for the quickening the graces of his spirit, for the restraining and subduing the corruptions of our hearts, and for the bringing of our souls into nearer communion and fellowship with himself. Satan has often felt the force and power of this piece of our spiritual armour; and it is, indeed, the last which the believer is directed to make use of. Praying souls are profitable in families, neighbourhoods, churches, and common-wealths, when prayerless ones are in a great measure useless. The believer has the utmost encouragement to this work he can desire; he may come to God, not as on a seat of justice, but as on a throne of grace. Christ is the Mediator between God and him, his way of access to God, and his Advocate with the Father; the Spirit is his Guide, Director, and Assister; he has many exceeding great and precious promises to plead with God; nor need he doubt of a kind reception, a gracious audience, and a proper answer, though never so mean and unworthy in himself; since the Lord will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise his prayer.

— John Gill (1697-1771) from “A Discourse on Prayer”