Andrew Fuller on seeing Baptists prosper

Andrew Fuller

Andrew Fuller is (1754-1815) one of my Baptist heroes. His personal life, theological convictions and missionary zeal have challenged and instructed me since I first learned about him over 30 years ago. Recently, my friend, Michael Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality and Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posted the following quote and brief commentary on Facebook. It is such timely wisdom, especially for those who live and serve in churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, that I gladly repost it here.

If we wish to see the Baptist denomination prosper, we must not expend our zeal so much in endeavouring to make men Baptists, as in labouring to make Baptists and others Christians.

-Andrew Fuller
Dr. Michael Haykin

Then Haykin offers the following observation:

And the same goes for being Reformed etc! I have increasingly little time for the debates about who or what is or is not truly Reformed. Much of it is activated by little more than what Fuller aptly called “a party spirit.”

Fuller wrote the above words in a fugitive piece entitled “The Necessity of Seeking Those Things First Which Are of the First Importance”. I am Baptist and Calvinistic: not ashamed of either. But first things first.

Amen. In a denomination where 60-70% of our members cannot be found, this is a good and timely reminder. Let’s make it a matter of first priority to “make Baptists and others Christians.”

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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