Monthly Archives: December 2007

Andrew Fuller’s Pastoral Priorities

There are not enough good pastoral role models. It’s true. Oh, there are some good ones out there, and many of them have quite a following among the collegians, seminarians, and young pastors who find them. But it’s unfortunate there are not more good pastoral role models, or perhaps better, more role models who have the ability (or platform) to influence younger ministers. Many of the godly role models out there are laboring in small churches in sometimes obscure locales. Because these brothers do not write books, speak at all the prominent conferences, and preach in seminary chapel services, aspiring and less experienced pastors are unable to benefit from their wisdom and influence.

Because of this vaccuum, many younger (and seasoned) ministers turn to the examples of faithful pastors from bygone days. This is possible because of the faithful ministry of publishers committed to reprinting works of historical import (e.g. Banner of Truth, Particular Baptist Press) and the growing number of resources available on the internet. Resources like, Lord willing, this very weblog!

I believe contemporary pastors can learn much from the life of Andrew Fuller. My friend and fellow contributor, Paul Brewster, has written a much-lauded dissertation on Fuller’s pastoral theology, and many of us expect to see a published version of that work in the next two or three years. Of course there is the forthcoming multi-volume Andrew Fuller Works project, as well as other versions of Fuller’s writings available through Sprinkle Publications or, more recently, Banner of Truth.

This is what one notable biographer says about Fuller’s pastoral priorities:

Thus he prosecuted his pastoral and ministerial work, most grateful and joyous when he had experienced “a good time” in preaching or in prayer, and most deeply dejected when he had felt no “tenderness of heart” in conducting the public services. He was a constant visitor, especially at the houses of the poorer members of his church, and acknowledged that he gained much good from the practice. The griefs and sorrows of his people became his own, and he entered into their joys with all his heart. Knowing that the success of his work depended in no small measure upon his own spirituality, he hungered and thirsted after righteousness. Every hour of the day the care of the church was upon him. He thought but little of popularity, but earnestly desired to accomplish great things for the glory of God.

[Andrew Gunton Fuller, Men Worth Remembering: Andrew Fuller (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1882), pp.57-58, available online here.] 

What a contrast to what we too often see in today’s pulpits. In a day of CEO pastors, virtually prayerless ministries, never-ending church growth seminars, and the proliferation of what some have called our “therapeutic culture,” Fuller’s model of simple, Christ-centered faithfulness resonates with those longing to find a better–and more biblical–approach to pastoral ministry. May we all benefit from his example and the examples of countless others, whether they be other historical role models, contemporary pastors laboring in those fields deemed less “strategic” by wordly standards, or even those dozen or so “Reformed Rock Stars” to whom so many in my generation rightly look for pastoral wisdom.


Filed under Andrew Fuller, Preaching, Spirituality

Upcoming Issues of Eusebeia

Greetings friends of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. I wanted to whet your appetite and let you know of what the next few issues of Eusebeia will be devoted.

Spring 2008 – The Puritans

Fall 2008 – 17th Century English Baptists

Spring 2009 – T. T. Shields and Fundamentalism

Stay on the lookout for these upcoming issues of the journal. If you are interested in subscribing ($20 USD in North America, $30 USD outside North America) contact Allen Mickle, Managing Editor (


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Building Bridges? Try Andrew Fuller

As most readers of this blog are likely aware, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Founders Ministry recently teamed up to cosponsor a major conference on the role of Calvinism in SBC life. The persons behind the conference recognize that there has been a resurgence of Calvinism in the SBC in recent years, and that there is evidence this is having a polarizing effect within the convention. They were able to gather over 550 SBC pastors, laymen, and educators in an effort to build bridges between those who hold differing opinions on the value of the Calvinistic resurgence.

One of the many highlights of the Building Bridges Conference was Dr. Daniel Akin’s closing address, “Answering the Call to a Great Commission Resurgence.” Dr. Akin’s final words did a masterful job of summing up the themes which had already been discussed throughout the conference. He let it be known that the Calvinism that was in vogue in Baptist circles when the SBC was formed was an evangelical, missions-minded Calvinism. Far from being a threat to evangelism and missions, it actually acted as an impetus to these important emphases. Dr. Akin reminded his hearers:

“The modern missionary movement was launched by a Baptist. It was also launched by a Calvinist. His name was William Carey. He represents the best and healthiest stream of the Calvinist tradition and one I can enthusiastically embrace. Carey did not receive universal support in his desire to get the gospel to the “heathen” as they were called in his day. There was another tributary of Calvinism that was resolute in its opposition to the aspirations of young William. This type of Calvinism was of no value in Carey’s day. It is of no value in our day. I believe significant headway can be made as we depart from this conference if, in heart and confession, it can be said, I am a “Carey Calvinist.” I am a “Judson Calvinist.” I am a “Spurgeon Calvinist.” I am a Calvinist who embraces with my whole being our Lord’s command to take the gospel across the street and around the world.”

As students of Fuller will recognize, he could also have said, a “Fuller Calvinist.” Each of the men he mentioned would have recognized Fuller’s theology as that which informed their minds, warmed their hearts, and moved them to heroic exertions on behalf of the lost. In fact, Fuller’s name came up quite often in the papers presented at the conference. May God grant that the new-found appreciation for Fuller and his theology sparks a renewal in Southern Baptist life as powerful as that which ensued when he lived and worked among British Particular Baptists.

Paul Brewster

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