- This sermon by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. on Deuteronomy 4:32-40 titled: “Has Any People Heard the Voice of God Speaking . . . And Survived?” This was the convocation message for the Fall ’06 semester and was preached last Tuesday. Great message focusing on the mercy of God in revealing Himself to man. Other MP3s from chapels past and present can be downloaded here.
- Mark Driscoll’s sermon on “Death by Love: Reflections on the Cross” at the recent Reform & Resurge Conference. This 85 minute sermon chewed up some major drive time and it was worth every minute invested. Powerful sermon on the atonement! I wouldn’t or couldn’t say many of the things that Driscoll says, but his style is just shocking enough to make you seriously consider the realities of the cross.
- C. J. Mahaney’s sermon at a Cornerstone Church in Knoxville, TN on “Who’s Really at Work?” on Philippians 2:12-13. Excellent sermon on sanctification!
- Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin’s lectures on “Tertullian and Constantine” and “Athanasius and Basil.” Sure I was driving four hours to hear him lecture for four hours, but I can’t get enough of this guy! Seriously, this is good stuff along with numerous other lectures on SermonAudio.com.
I may post some on my favorite listening at my computer! There are certain things I play repeatedly, but I’ll save that list for another day!
In the course of three months in the year 1702, there died three of the most prominent Particular Baptist pastors in London. These men were William Collins, Thomas Harrison and Hercules Collins. Their deaths signaled the end of a most eventful seventeenth century in Baptist life in England marked by both persecution and progress. All three of their funeral sermons were preached by the same man, a young Baptist minister by the name of John Piggott. In these funeral sermons preached to the deceased ministers’ respective churches, a specific view of ministry can be detected. While all three of these sermons were preached between August and November of the year 1702, they actually provide a glimpse of the prevalent view of ministry among Particular Baptists in London during the mid to late seventeenth century.
To read the entire paper click here (pdf).
MY MASTER GOD,
I am desired to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne for thee;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.
Present to my view things pertinent to my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I preach,
and grace to apply them to men’s consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over my performance.
Help me to offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting thy mercy.
Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and to set before them comforting considerations.
Attend with power the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings,
that men might be made holy.
I myself need thy support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;
Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ’s death, its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with thee as I do this work.
Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayersand Devotions (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975) Leather edition reprinted in 2002.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the theology of Carl Ferdinand Howard Henry. This goal will be accomplished in the following three ways. First, a brief biography of Henry’s life will be given. Second, in order to highlight his theological emphases, a survey of Henry’s theology will be made. Third, a comparison with another Baptist theologian of a previous century, James Petigru Boyce, will be offered.
To read this paper in its entirety, click here.
The forty-six letters by Andrew Fuller contained in The Armies of the Lamb are not ordered by Dr. Haykin in the chronological order in which they were written. Instead Dr. Haykin seems to have organized the letters in such a way that their content more or less follows the chronology of Fuller’s life. For example, the first two letters included were written in 1798 and the third in 1815 (the year of Fuller’s death), but all three of these letters describe various details relating to Fuller’s own conversion as a young man years earlier.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the spirituality of Andrew Fuller through his personal letters. The reading of these letters has hopefully made an impact upon my own spiritual life. I have been convicted by my failure to recognize my own inadequacies, challenged to depend more upon the Holy Spirit and prayer, and encouraged to look to Christ and Him crucified. In the following we will see each of these themes in Fuller’s own words while making personal application of these themes to our own lives.
One of them most surprising of the recurring themes which I noted in Fuller’s letters was his obvious recognition of his own inadequacy both as a saint and a servant of God. After a life of fruitful service to Christ, he still felt himself to be unprofitable. Near the end of his life he wrote: “In looking back upon my life I see much cause for shame.” (263). This was not just the self-pity of an old man for ten years earlier he confessed in a letter to his friend John Ryland: “All that I have yet known seems to be as nothing.” (198). Fuller clearly recognized his own inadequacies and was not afraid to admit such to others. What a conviction it is to realize that one so greatly used by God would recognize and confess his own inadequacies! How much more should I be aware of my own deficiencies as a Christian and a minister.
Fuller especially recognized his own inadequacies in his spiritual life. He once wrote to William Carey that “if I have any spirituality it is but as the smoking flax; now and then a groan and a desire after God.” (187). Fuller confessed his weakness both in prayer and preaching. In regard to his praying, Fuller wrote of his unsuccessfulness: “If I dwelt in Christ, and Christ’s words in me, I should be more successful in prayer.” (197). Likewise, in regard to his preaching, Fuller wrote: “I feel that if I were more spiritually-minded I should preach better and bear trials better.” (191). Again, Fuller’s words are extremely convicting when one considers one’s own comparative inadequacies. But Fuller did not wallow in despair over his self-perceived inadequacies. Instead, he allowed his sense of need to drive him to deeper dependence upon the Holy Spirit and prayer.
Fuller’s recognition of his utter inadequacies as both a Christian and a Minister of the Gospel drove him to greater dependence upon the Holy Spirit and prayer. In a circular letter to churches in the Northamptonshire Baptist Association, Fuller ties together the need for the Holy Spirit and prayer:
Finally, brethren, let us not forget to intermingle prayer with all we do. Our need of God’s Holy Spirit to enable us to do any thing, and everything, truly good, should excite us to do this. Without his blessing all means are without efficacy, and every effort for revival will be in vain. Constantly and earnestly, therefore, let us approach his throne. Take all occasions especially for closet prayer. Here, if anywhere, we shall get fresh strength, and maintain a life of communion with God. (108).
Those who are truly aware of their own inabilities will naturally be driven to prayer for enablement from the Holy Spirit. For Fuller, Christians are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures and to preach Christ. In regard to understanding the Scriptures, Fuller wrote to a member of the Kettering church that “when the truth contained in any passage of Scripture is opened to the mind, and impressed upon the heart, this is Christian experience – this is the work of the Spirit” (120-121). In regard to preaching Christ, Fuller wrote to Christopher Anderson in 1813:
I have been thinking of late of the force of the petition, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” As spiritual things are spiritually discerned, if the Lord leave us to ourselves we shall lose sight of the gospel, and somehow get beside it. . . . Take not thy Holy Spirit from us! It is for want of spirituality of mind, surely, that there is so much orthodox, and at the same time so little evangelical preaching. (247).
The urgency with which Fuller calls out for the assistance of the Holy Spirit is a source of conviction for all who think they can preach or do anything of eternal value apart from the enablement of the Holy Spirit.
Another theme easily observable in Fuller’s letters is his emphasis on the beauty of Christ. This is by far the most dominant theme in his letters. Over and over again Fuller expresses that Christ is his only hope of salvation. In 1812, Fuller wrote a letter to his good friend John Sutcliff in which he said, “What empty things are the applauses of creatures, and how idle the pursuit of them! I seem near the end of my course, and hope, through grace, and grace only, to finish it with joy. I have no transports, but a steady hope of eternal life, on the ground of my Saviour’s death.” (245). His encouragement to others was to “often think of the dying love of Christ towards you.” (208). To a group of ministerial students being trained by John Ryland, Fuller wrote of the importance of a fervent love for Christ. He wrote to Ryland these words to be passed along to the students: “It is of vast importance for a minister to be decidedly on the side of God, against himself as a sinner, and against an apostate world. Nor is it less important that he have an ardent love to Christ, and the gospel of salvation by free grace.” (161).
Fuller used the question of the preciousness of Christ as a diagnostic question to be used by individuals to determine whether or not they were genuine believers. In 1799 he wrote to the son of a dear friend regarding his salvation as follows:
To them also who believe in Christ “he is precious,” so that his name, and gospel, and people are dear to them, more dear than food, or raiment, or silver, or gold, or friends, or all the things which they can desire. And is Christ thus precious to you? If he is, eternal bliss is before you. If not, the wrath of God abideth on you. Think, my dear lad, of these things, and call upon the name of the Lord that you may be saved. (164).
Two years later, Fuller wrote similarly to an older relative about whom he was concerned. In this letter also Fuller asserts the glories of Christ and calls upon the sinner to flee to Christ.
When I consider that “all our righteousnesses are filthy rags” and will not cover us at the last day, that our very prayers and tears are at best mixed with sin, and if not offered in the name of Jesus, or with an eye to his mediation, are sin itself, I flee to Jesus, the hope set before me in the gospel. I implore, as a guilty, miserable sinner, to be accepted and pardoned wholly for his sake. (176-177).
Clearly, Fuller saw and declared the importance of whole hearted embrace of Christ in salvation. Without such an embrace, salvation itself may well be absent.
Even in the midst of doctrinal controversies, Fuller took refuge in the preciousness of Christ. Fuller’s defense of sound doctrine against the Socinians had served to increase rather than decrease his passion for Christ. In a letter to fellow pastor Thomas Steevens in 1793, Fuller wrote:
By what I have read and written in the Socinian controversy, I feel more attached to the great doctrines of Christ’s deity and atonement, together with those of salvation by grace alone, from first to last. These truths are not merely objects of my faith, but the ground of all my hope, and administer what is superior to my daily bread. (131).
This a remarkable accomplishment when compared to the way some scholars become seemingly more and more cold to Christ and the gospel as they write their academic defenses of doctrine. This aspect of Fuller has been particularly convicting to me personally to allow my studies to drive me to Christ. Thankfully, when studying Fuller there is hardly any other result.
Fuller’s appreciation for the preciousness of Christ seems to have continually have grown throughout his ministry. Upon returning from a trip to Ireland in 1804, Fuller wrote in a letter to his father-in-law William Coles the following:
The doctrine of the cross is more dear to me than when I went. I wish I may never preach another sermon but what shall bear some relation to it. I see and feel, more and more, that except I eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man I have no life in me, either as a Christian or as a minister. Some of the sweetest opportunities I had in my journey were in preaching Christ crucified: particularly on those passages, “Unto you that believe he is Precious.” – “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” – “He that hath the Son hath life,” etc.– “That they all may be one,” etc. (191).
Given Fuller’s ever increasing love for Christ, it is no wonder then that in 1806 Fuller wrote to two newly sent out missionaries the following words:
My dear Brethren, know nothing but “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Be this the summit of your ambition. For you to live must be Christ. You may never be of that literary consequence which some are; but if you possess a savour of Christ, you will be blessings in your generation; and when you die, your names will be precious, not only in India and Britain, but in the sight of the Lord. (209).
These words remain sound advice! If our ministries are to be of any lasting value they must be ministries focused upon and saturated with the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I have been encouraged, challenged, and convicted by Andrew Fuller’s life and letters. I am truly grateful for the opportunity of being exposed to these classic writings. As I have read and meditated upon these letters, I have been alternately convicted by Fuller’s recognition of his own inadequacies, challenged by Fuller’s dependence upon the Holy Spirit and prayer, and encouraged by Fuller’s emphasis upon the preciousness of Christ. Though these three themes are each prominent in Fuller’s letters, they seem to be missing in much of the contemporary Christian literature being published. Closer to home, I see all too little of these characteristics in my own life. For this I repent and I pray that many more will repent along with me.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer (This book not only explains how belief in the sovereignty of God and our responsibility to evangelize are not mutually exclusive, it also contains one of the best explanations of the gospel in print.)
5. One book that made you cry:
The Texas Baptist Crucible: Tales from the Temple by James Spurgeon (because of the pain caused by an all too familiar legalism)
7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin (He could have at least left the charts out.)
8. One book you’re currently reading:
Rediscovering our English Baptist Heritage: Kiffin, Knollys and Keach by Michael A. G. Haykin (Background reading in British Particular Baptist history. Good stuff!!!)
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World by David Wells (It’s on my shelf. Looks good. Recommended by John Piper, Mark Dever and Timmy Brister)
11. Others who have already been tagged (I added this component since so many others have already done this meme):