Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

4 Times Spurgeon Was Almost Assassinated

March 20, 2017 2 comments

by Christian George

David once said, “There is only a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).

Charles Spurgeon almost took that step many times.

His mother, Eliza, gave birth to sixteen children after Spurgeon was born. Half of them died.

Diseases like the plague that shut down Spurgeon’s school in Newmarket could have easily killed the preacher before his ministry even began.

A massive cholera pandemic killed ten thousand Londoners during Spurgeon’s first year in the city. Many of those who died were members of his church.

“All day, and sometimes all night long, I went about from house to house, and saw men and women dying, and, oh, how glad they were to see my face. When many were afraid to enter their houses lest they should catch the deadly disease, we who had no fear about such things found ourselves most gladly listened to when we spoke of Christ and of things Divine” (Autobiography 1:371).




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Luther Rice

Rice, Luther (1783-1836). Missionary to India and founder of the first Baptist weekly newspaper, The Columbian Star, in the United States. Born in Northborough, Mass., on March 25, 1783. Grew up as a Congregationalist. Helped found the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Went to India with Adoniram Judson in 1812 and there became a Baptist. Returned to the United States in 1813. Died in Edgefield, S.C., on Sept. 25, 1836.

Source [Reformed Reader]

Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability

March 14, 2017 2 comments

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the second post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Andrew Fuller’s belief in the duty of all moral agents has led some to think that he, therefore, rejected the historic Calvinist doctrine of the bondage of the will. This betrays a regrettable misunderstanding not only of Fuller but of the historic Calvinistic doctrine and is at the root of many bypasses in the discussion between these hopefully fraternal parties in Southern Baptist life. In his confession of faith presented at his installment at Kettering, Fuller reflected on Adam’s fall as that covenant relationship in which we fell, and “became liable to condemnation and death, and what is more, are all born into the world with a vile propensity to sin against God.” Affirming this as the teaching of Romans 5, Fuller further explained….




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William Riley

1861-1947 William Bell Riley was one of the most diligent evangelists of his day, and like the late George Truett, served in one pastorate for more than forty years – that of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His service to his public was twofold, for he was both a preacher of sermons and a writer of books. William Riley’s authorship included a number of texts on Christian Evangelism; a subject in which he excelled as both a scholar and a teacher. His favorite narration was always entertaining, often amusing, and was based on the element of human interest. Not content with being a successful evangelist himself, William Riley was also interested in training others in carrying on evangelistic work. To this end, he founded the Northwestern Bible Training School and an Evangelical Seminary … truly a man to be remembered for his sincere and tireless endeavor in the field of Evangelism.

Theologically, in many respects Riley was a typical Baptist traditionalist. He never stopped believing in the New Hampshire Confession of 1833, the most popular Baptist “creed” of the nineteenth century. His first major book was an exposition of the Confession and in 1922 he tried to get the NBC (Northern Baptist Convention) to adopt it as its binding statement of faith.

As a fundamentalist, Riley stretched his Baptist theology between the poles of biblical inerrancy and dispensational premillennialism. Though it was hard for most people to arrive at dispensationalism on their own, Riley insisted that it stood with biblical inerrancy as a bulwark against modernism. Dispensational premillennialism came out of Great Britain in the 1830’s, the brain child of John Nelson Darby, one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren. It was essentially a complicated hermeneutic that sought to divide all of history into eras or “dispensations” and distinguish between the two separate peoples of God, Israel and the church, and their separate programs.

Dispensationalism came to the United States after the Civil War and spread through Bible and prophetic conferences, Bible institutes, and most importantly, the Scofield Reference Bible, whose textual notes helped people read the Scriptures “dispensationally”.

In retrospect Riley’s theology was a blend of Baptist orthodoxy and fundamentalism, which became more extreme over the years. It was built on a straight-forward reading of the Bible, which some have correctly called “proof-testing”, and aimed at common people.

Re-produced in part from “Baptist Theologians”, Timothy George and David S. Dockery


Source [Reformed Reader]

Fuller The Non-Calvinist?

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the first post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

It has been very entertaining recently to see the name and theology of Andrew Fuller set forth as one whose doctrinal pilgrimage served as a corrective to the Calvinism of the late eighteenth century. His position is supposed to be a model to shame present-day Calvinists for holding so tenaciously to the distinctive tenets of historical confessional Calvinism. If these brothers would embrace the full system of Andrew Fuller, that would virtually end the present polemical engagement on this issue. In fact, in future theological discussion, such an event would significantly rearrange the constituent members of the discussion and give an entirely different tone to the interchange. Recently, Fuller has been presented as a “moderate” Calvinist. Fuller was not unfamiliar with that term and even aligned himself on the issue. When a contemporary asked him about the ranges of Calvinism within Baptist life, Fuller responded, “There are three by which we commonly describe; namely, the high, the moderate, and the strict Calvinists.” The High Calvinists he considered as antinomian “more Calvinistic than Calvin himself.” They considered Fuller an Arminian, a characterization he firmly rejected. The moderate Calvinists were “half Arminian, or as they are called with us, Baxterians.” Those who….




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Why the American South Would Have Killed Charles Spurgeon

by Christian George

In 1859, an American minister named “Rev. H.” traveled to London to meet the famous pastor of the New Park Street Chapel.

When Spurgeon discovered his guest was from Alabama, his “cordiality sensibly diminished.” A six-month American preaching tour would expedite the construction of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, but could Southerners tolerate Spurgeon’s stance against slavery? When Spurgeon asked his guest this question, the Alabamian said he “had better not undertake it.”

This advice might have saved Spurgeon’s life.

The same year, S. A. Corey, pastor of Eighteenth Street Baptist Church in New York City, invited the 24-year-old to preach at the Academy of Music opera house for $10,000. News of Spurgeon’s visit was met with anticipation in the North and hostility in the South. According to an Alabama newspaper, Spurgeon would receive a beating “so bad as to make him ashamed.” On February 17, 1860, citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, publicly protested the “notorious English abolitionist” by gathering in the jail yard to burn his “dangerous books”:

“Last Saturday, we devoted to the ames a large number of copies of Spurgeon’s sermons. . . . We trust that the works of the greasy cockney vociferator may receive the same treatment throughout the South. And if the pharisaical author should ever show himself in these parts, we trust that a stout cord may speedily find its way around his eloquent throat.”




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Walter Rauschenbusch


Walter Rauschenbusch is known as the father of the Social Concern movement in America. Traditionally, the source of his social ethic has been seen to lie in the single motif of liberalism. Donovan Smucker provides a new perspective, arguing that Rauschenbusch’s social ethic was based on not one but four complementary influences: pietism, sectarianism, liberalism, and transformationism.

In Rauschenbusch’s work pietism, a religion of the heart, was purged of subjectivism while retaining inter-personal compassion; Anabaptist sectarianism provided a Kingdom of God love-ethic without passivity toward the culture; liberalism imparted an openness to the whole community and a powerful, realistic analytic; and the transformationist Christian socialists supplied a case for state intervention while rejecting public ownership as a first principle. Smucker reveals that while the roots of Rauschenbusch’s new paradigm lay to some extent in his personal experiences – his parents’ rejection of the Lutheran perspective for that of the Baptists, his father’s pietism, and his eleven-year pastorate in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen – it was his exposure to the new politics of Henry George and Edward Bellamy, to the Christian socialism of England and Switzerland, and, aided by his knowledge of German and his experiences in Europe, to a wide range of scholarship sensitive to the main social currents of the day that deeply informed his ethic. Smucker also shows how Rauschenbusch drew upon the work of Christian ethicists, historians, and sociologists to support his new pluralistic synthesis.

Donovan E. Smucker

Walter Rauschenbusch served for eleven years as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in New York City’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” Acknowledged as a loving pastor and social prophet, he did much to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Although Rauschenbusch has long been recognized as the “Father of the Social Gospel,” the religious convictions and experiences that shaped and molded this man and his ideas have often been ignored. “The ideal of the Kingdom of God,” he said, “is not identified with any special social theory. It means justice, freedom, fraternity, labor, joy. Let each social system and movement show us what it can contribute, and we will weigh its claims.”

The passion of Rauschenbusch to see God’s will done “on earth as it is in heaven” has inspired a large number of pastors and social reformers. I remember attending the church he pastored (some 50 years later), seeing his picture on the wall, and wondering what kind of man he was. As I began my pastoral and community work, I read more books about and by him. His work and passion has also had a formative influence on my work in community and it is for that reason that I intend to share some of his writings on this website. I will be adding excerpts from books & magazines over time.

Harry Lehotsky

Source [Reformed Reader]

Henry Wheeler Robinson

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Henry Wheeler Robinson, 1872-1945 born Northampton, Northamptonshire, Eng. Notable Nonconformist English Baptist theologian and Old Testament scholar. Robinson studied at Regent’s Park College, London, the University of Edinburgh, Mansfield College, Oxford, and Marburg and Strasbourg universities (1890?1900), and then became Baptist minister at Pitlochry, Perthshire (1900?03), and St. Michael’s, Coventry


Source [Reformed Reader]

Arthur T. Pierson

February 20, 2017 Leave a comment

“Arthur T. Pierson (1837-1911) best exemplifies the integrity of the Philadelphian Church Era… His preaching (over 13,000 sermons), extensive writings (over fifty books), and Bible lectures made him widely known in America. He was a consulting editor for his friend, C. I. Scofield (1843-1921), with the original Scofield Reference Bible (1909), and was the author of the classic biography, ‘George Muller of Bristol’… A. T. Pierson’s association with D. L. Moody and his Northfield Conferences were the breeding ground for Pierson’s determination to see the world evangelized in his generation… Arthur Pierson was himself a speaker at the Keswick Convention. This deepening of the Christian life in Pierson saw him author one of his most spiritually significant books, ‘In Christ Jesus’ (1898), where Pierson’s personal journey had led him to the conclusion that ‘this brief phrase [‘in Christ Jesus’] — a preposition followed by a proper name — is the key to the whole New Testament.'”


Source [Reformed Reader]

Reformers’ pro-life views recounted

February 16, 2017 Leave a comment

By David Roach

EDITOR’S NOTE: During the coming months, Baptist Press will periodically publish stories observing the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, Oct. 31, 1517.

NASHVILLE (BP) — With pro-life rallies and events making headlines in the past few days, ethicists and historians have issued a reminder that the pro-life ethic has deep historical roots, including advocacy by the 16th-century Protestant Reformers.

Reformation leaders John Calvin and Martin Bucer both condemned willful termination of a pregnancy directly while Martin Luther addressed the dignity of unborn children and the glory of childbearing. Anabaptists likewise dignified unborn life.

The Reformers’ “anthropology — their doctrine of humanity — led them to confess that abortion was the killing of a human being,” said Union University bioethicist and provost C. Ben Mitchell.

“Similarly, for pro-life evangelicals, biblical anthropology leads…..




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