THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF ANDREW FULLER

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CHAPTER 3 ORIGINS OF PARTICULAR BAPTISTS

Introduction

Andrew Fuller was a part of a larger Particular Baptist theological tradition which was influential in determining his understanding of pastoral ministry. This chapter provides a brief overview of origins of the Particular Baptists from their Puritan-Separatist roots and includes a description of the socio-political and theological forces that shaped Fuller’s understanding of the ministerial office. Some factors that affected the decline and subsequent numerical rise of the Particular Baptists in the latter part of the eighteenth century will also be briefly discussed.

Particular Baptist beginnings

Two traditions of Anglophone Baptists emerged in the seventeenth century. They were designated either “General” or “Particular” Baptists according to their views of the atonement of Christ.1 Their belief that the true church is both comprised of those who profess Christ as their Saviour and that water baptism, usually by full immersion, distinguished them as Baptists. Even though this departure from their immediate forbears over the issue of infant baptism resulted in the pejorative labels of “Antipaedo Baptists” or “Anabaptists” by some in the broader reformation tradition,2 their conviction in this regard was positively motivated by a desire for biblical fidelity. As Roger Hayden observes, “It was the Bible that brought these Christians to  radical faith.”3 Yet despite their general agreement on believer’s baptism, the two communities had different origins as well as different theological emphases.4
The General Baptists, named for their belief that Christ died for all men and that anyone who put his/her faith in Christ would be saved, have their roots in the Amsterdam ministries of John Smyth (ca.1570-1612) and Thomas Helwys (died ca. 1615).5 John Smyth was a Separatist, originally an Anglican, who left England for Amsterdam, Holland, due to the persecution of James I (r.1603-1625) around 1607. He came to accept believer’s baptism as biblical truth in 1609. Initially, he baptized himself and his congregation, but after criticism that his self-baptism was unbiblical, he was baptized again by the Waterlander Mennonite Church.6 By this time he had also rejected Calvinism and adopted the views of Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) who taught Christ had died for all people not just the elect. Whereas Smyth most likely died before being fully absorbed into the Mennonite Waterlander Church,7 Thomas Helwys and a small group from Smyth’s original congregation, moved back to England where they eventually set up the first Baptist Church on English soil and would become the first congregation in the General Baptist denomination.
The second representative group of Baptists, and the focus of the following study, is the Particular Baptists. The Particular Baptists differed from their General Baptist counterparts primarily through their Calvinism and were so named because of their belief in a “particular” or “limited” atonement. The doctrine of Particular Redemption states that “the saving purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was for the salvation of the elect alone.”9 They became the more dominant of the two groups in the eighteenth century as many General Baptists adopted Unitarianism.10 In fact Thomas Nettles argues that the theology of these Calvinistic Baptists continued to be highly influential among Baptists up to the second decade of the twentieth century.11
The Particular Baptists of England arose during the reign of Charles I (1625-1644/49) descending from the Puritan- Separatist tradition.12 In their case, the mainly Paedo-Baptist ecclesiology of the Independents evolved into the foundational Baptist tenet of Believer’s Baptism.13 That they retained the Calvinistic theology of the Reformed tradition is clearly seen in their early confessions. In 1616, a congregation in London was established that became known as the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey church, so named for their first three Pastors who were Puritans turned Separatist.14 From this group a man named John Spilsbury (1593-ca. 1668)15 emerged to lead the first Particular Baptist church that was founded in 1638. He was a cobbler in London by trade and a member of the church of Henry Jessey (1601-1663) prior to his secession to begin this early Baptist work.16 As the Particular Baptists continued to grow, he became an influential leader among them sometimes functioning as a polemicist in defense of Baptist distinctives .17 In 1643 he published a book on baptism entitled A Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism to combat criticism that Believer’s Baptism was scripturally illegitimate.18 At the very least he was a signatory of the important First London Confession of Faith, but he may have contributed more than just his name.19 The extent of his contribution to the First London Confession 20 is unclear; however Underwood feels he played a significant role in its actual formulation.21
By 1644 there were seven congregations in London and forty-seven in the rest of England.22 By 1660 there were one hundred and thirty-one Particular Baptist churches with the majority located in the Midlands, London, and the southern counties.23 The impressive growth of the Baptists in this period parallels the development of associations of individual churches in a district or region that cooperated to further their mutual objectives.24 These associations provided accountability for orthodoxy and a means for providing necessities for ministers of poorer churches.25 This resulting “strength in numbers” cooperation facilitated evangelism and the spread of Baptist principles.

Particular Baptist Decline

The establishment of a parliamentary government not only contributed to the climate of social and political unrest, but it also provided a new sense of optimism for religious freedom. During this period of rapid Baptist growth, the Particular Baptists were often incorrectly associated with the radical Anabaptism of continental Europe which resulted in charges of heresy and political dissention.26 As a result, they felt compelled to produce a statement of faith vindicating themselves from this false connection with the continental Anabaptists and the Arminianism of the General Baptists. The First London Confession is clearly Calvinistic in theology. This is especially clear in the articles outlining its Christology, and these twelve sections have been interpreted by some as an indirect denial of Arminianism.27 Also many of its articles come directly from the Independent Separatist Confession of 1596.28 But despite these similarities with their Calvinistic brethren, the Baptist Confession stresses that full immersion in water is the proper mode of baptism.29
In 1661, influenced by the Established Church’s perception that all sects were inherently dangerous to the state, Charles II (r. 1660-85) released a declaration proscribing all illegal and subversive meetings under facade of worship.30 The Clarendon Code (1661-1665) was subsequently enacted to re-establish Episcopal power and to achieve a uniformity of creed. It was comprised of several acts aimed mostly at Presbyterians, but of course it affected all Dissenters, including the Baptists. The first Act of Parliament was called, The Corporation Act (1661) which stated that members of civic groups must take oaths of loyalty to the crown or they would be removed from office. Those wishing to hold an office were required to take the sacrament of the Church of England at least one year prior to their election.31 The Act of Uniformity in 1662 required all clergy to agree to the precepts of The Book of Common Prayer and if they refused their benefice was revoked.32 The Conventicle Act (1664) punished people for attending a Nonconformist church service.33 Finally, The Five Mile Act (1665) prohibited dissenting clergy from coming within five miles of a place where they had previously ministered.34 Because of these various Acts, all Dissenters, including the Baptists, were denied full legal rights in the state and experienced persecution. It was not uncommon for Baptists to have their meeting houses demolished by angry mobs.35
A measure of relief came in 1672 with a Declaration of Indulgence suspending ecclesiastical legal penalties and allowing the licensing of Dissenting meeting places.36 These privileges would be withdrawn a year later with the Test Act (1673) which prevented Dissenters from entering civil and military office.
In 1677, the Particular Baptists, who shared Calvinism in common with the Independents and Presbyterians, sought to demonstrate their essential theological union with these other Nonconformists, to help present a unified and powerful dissenting voice in response to state persecution.37 The Particular Baptists in London made one of the most significant of all Anglophone confessions, The Westminster Confession,38 the basis of their own in The Second London Confession, albeit with their own distinctions included.39 Lumpkin notes that there were also some significant differences from the First London Confession (1644, 1689) especially in articles describing the Scriptures, the Sabbath, and marriage, while its teaching on Calvinism became even more pronounced.40 Other changes included statements that the Lord’s Supper is not restricted to baptized people, the discarding of the term “sacrament,” and an added provision justifying lay preaching.41 Two months after an Act of Toleration (May 1689) a general meeting was held by Particular Baptists in London. Baptists from one hundred and seven churches in  England and Wales sent messengers. At this meeting they approved the Confession of 1677 for use in their churches. A second revised edition was republished in 1689.42
With the abolishment of compulsory service at the Church of England after the so-called Glorious Revolution of William III and Mary II (1688)43 and with the passing of the Toleration Act (1689),44 Dissenters were permitted to worship with relative freedom in their meeting places, although with unlocked doors. They were still required to take oaths of allegiance to the state and to sign the Thirty-Nine Articles 45 excepting the article affirming infant Baptism.46 However, the optimism of this new-found freedom generated by the hopeful confidence of expected growth, soon gave way to a melancholy reality of regression.47 Paradoxically, this period became a season of decline for the Baptists for a variety of social, economic, and theological reasons. Socially many Dissenters were still second-class citizens, which initially may have hindered the development of a more educated ministry. In addition, there were still communication and transportation challenges that made close-knit cooperation and interdependency between different Baptist congregations unfeasible as many Particular Baptists remained isolated from one another in remote villages. At this time in England the transportation system was still cumbrous and inefficient.48
Ideologically, the eighteenth century represented the “Age of Enlightenment” where, for some, human reason eclipsed divine revelation as the preferred basis for epistemology. After enduring years of religious wars and persecutions, many people had grown tired of theological wrangling.49 As the influence of Deism and Socinianism arose to challenge theological orthodoxy, many churches, especially those among General Baptists, adopted their heterodox creed. Whereas the pressure of rationalism caused many General Baptists to question an orthodox Christology, it may have influenced Particular Baptists to intensify their convictions concerning the Doctrines of Grace50 leading to High Calvinism.51 In an effort to protect doctrinal fidelity, some Particular Baptists adopted a form of Calvinism that adhered too rigidly to the logic of a system, resulting in a denial of any offers of free grace.52 This seemed to quench evangelistic fervour and is believed by many earlier Baptist historians to be the chief cause of decline among the Particular Baptists.53
Between 1689 and 1715 the number of churches fell from 300 to 220, with a further decline to 150 by 1750.54 Even though the Evangelical Revival began around 1730,55 it was not until the 1770s that the effects of the Evangelical Revival took hold among the Particular Baptists.56 Initially they were suspicious of the “enthusiasm” of the Methodists, their Paedo-baptism, their connection to the state church, as well as their Arminianism.57

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Particular Baptist Growth

During the years 1770-1815 the Baptists were expanding steadily.58 As a newer generation of Particular Baptists emerged, they adopted a more evangelical form of Calvinism with a strong desire to spread the Gospel, not only throughout England, but to the whole world. Significantly, Dr. Kenneth Manley believes that the evangelical revival also affected worship styles among Dissent, especially in preaching and hymn singing, as doctrinal rigidly was relaxed in favour or more evangelistic concerns.59 We have already noted how the life and writings of Andrew Fuller are usually given much of the credit for the adoption of this more moderate Calvinism especially among the Baptists.60
In the west of England Edward Terrill (1635-1686), an Elder of the Broadmead Church in Bristol, bequeathed a portion of his estate to the church to fund a school to train gifted leaders.*

Table of Contents 
Summary 
Acknowledgements 
Dedication 
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Purpose of the Study
1.2 Reason for the Study
1.3 Hypothesis
1.4 Historiographical Approach
1.5 Source Review
1.5.1 A Review of Fuller Scholarship to Date
1.5.2 Other Sources Consulted
1.6 Chapters outline
CHAPTER 2 THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF ANDREW FULLER
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Birth and Early Childhood
2.3 Conversion
2.4 Baptism
2.5 Fuller‟s Ministry
2.5.1 The Gospel Worthy of all Acceptation
2.5.2 Other Theological Controversies
2.5.3 Other Writings
2.5.4 Baptist Missionary Society
2.5.4.1 Formation of the BMS
2.5.5 The Theologian
2.5.6 The Administrator
2.5.7 The Fundraiser
2.5.8 The Pastoral Advisor
2.5.9 The Polemical Defender of Rights
2.5.10 Pastoral Duties
2.6 Death
2.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 ORIGINS OF PARTICULAR BAPTISTS
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Particular Baptist Beginnings
3.3 Particular Baptist Decline
3.4 Particular Baptist Growth
3.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 DYNAMICS OF PARTICULAR BAPTISTS ORDINATION SERMONS
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Their Value
4.3 Ordination Procedure
4.3.1 Outline of Service
4.3.2 Timeline before Ordination
4.3.3 Day/Length of Service-Morning
4.3.4 Procedure
4.3.5 Four Main Addresses of Ordination Service
4.3.5.1 The Introductory Discourse
4.3.5.2 Statement of Faith
4.3.5.2.1 Content
4.3.5.2.2 Common Content Included
4.3.5.2.3 Beliefs
4.3.5.3 Ordination Prayer – “Laying on of Hands”
4.3.5.4 Charge to the Pastor
4.3.5.5 Address to the Church
4.3.5.5.1 Church‟s Responsibility to the Pastor
4.4 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 PASTORAL THEOLOGY OF PARTICULAR BAPTISTS ORDINATION SERMONS
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Ordination Themes from Sermons
5.3 Church‟s Call
5.4 Characteristics of Ministers
5.5 Duties as Elder
5.6 Ordination of Deacons
5.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6 THE PASTORAL THEOLOGY OF ANDREW FULLER
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Pastoral Theology in Ordination Sermons
6.3 Fuller‟s Theology in the Charge
6.4 Fuller‟s Pastoral Theology in the Address to the Church
6.5 Conclusion
Chapter 7 CONCLUSION
7.1 Continuity and Discontinuity
7.2 Continuity in the Affections Prior to the Evangelical Awakening
7.3 Conclusion
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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